Court Blocks Parts of Ala. Immigration Law

A circuit court blocks parts of the state's controversial law targeting illegal immigrants.

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A federal appeals court blocked two parts of Alabama's controversial immigration law on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. The tough new law targeting illegal immigrants is being challenged by the federal government and a coalition of activist groups.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order temporarily halting a section that says courts can't enforce contracts involving illegal immigrants and another that makes it a felony for an illegal immigrant to do business with the state. The same court blocked other parts of the law, including a requirement that schools check students' immigration status. The 11th Circuit said that it won't rule on the overall case until the Supreme Court decides a federal challenge to a similar law in Arizona. (Oral arguments begin in April.)

"We are very pleased that the 11th Circuit understood the harms these provisions were causing in Alabama and saw fit to enjoin them," said the Southern Poverty Law Center's Sam Brooke, who argued before the panel last week. "This is a great day for the residents of our state."

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said that he strongly disagrees with the court's decision. "I will continue to vigorously defend Alabama's immigration law in the courts," he said. "I am hopeful that the Supreme Court's coming decision in the Arizona case will make clear that our law is constitutional." 

Sections still in effect include one that requires a law-enforcement officer to determine the citizenship and legal status of a person stopped or arrested if the officer has a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the country illegally.

With other states, including Georgia, adopting such laws, a lot rests on the Supreme Court's decision.

Read more at the Associated Press.

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