Much of Alabama’s Immigration Law Upheld
Via the NYT: Alabama Wins in Ruling on Its Immigration Law
The decision, by Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn of Federal District Court in Birmingham, makes it much more likely that the fate of the recent flurry of state laws against illegal immigration will eventually be decided by the Supreme Court. It also means that Alabama now has by far the strictest such law of any state.
The judge did issue a preliminary injunction against several sections of the law, agreeing with the government’s case that they pre-empted federal law. She blocked a broad provision that outlawed the harboring or transporting of illegal immigrants and another that barred illegal immigrants from enrolling in or attending public universities.
The judge upheld a section that requires state and local law enforcement officials to try to verify a person’s immigration status during routine traffic stops or arrests, if “a reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the country illegally. And she ruled that a section that criminalized the “willful failure” of a person in the country illegally to carry federal immigration papers did not pre-empt federal law.
In both cases, she rejected the reasoning of district and appeals courts that had blocked similar portions of Arizona’s law. Legal experts expected the Justice Department to appeal.
Given the fate of similar laws in the courts to date, the ruling is somewhat surprising.
The basic summation on the issue is as follows:
Peter J. Spiro, a law professor at Temple University, said: “This decision really gives the anti-immigration folks more of a victory than they’ve been getting in other courts. There’s a lot for them to be happy about.”
Still, Professor Spiro added, “This is not the last word on the constitutionality of this statute.”