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NALEO Welcomes Department of Justice Action Against Alabama’s Immigration Law
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Justice’s actions on Alabama’s HB 56
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund welcomes the U.S. Department of Justice decision to file a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction against HB 56, an anti-immigrant legislation that is even more flawed than Arizona’s SB1070.
The decision to file in Alabama is consistent with last year’s lawsuit against the State of Arizona after its passage of SB 1070. We commend the Department of Justice for continuing to reaffirm that the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction on immigration policy and that a patchwork approach by individual states is not the solution.
The Department of Justice did a thorough evaluation of the law and the affect it would have on the community, including the constitutionality of the law. In its evaluation, the Department found that HB 56 violated more rights than its predecessor SB 1070 and conflicts with other federal policies. The Department of Justice found, for example, that HB 56 is an affront to federal education policy.
Among the most egregious provisions of HB 56 is its requirement to turn educators into immigration officers, discouraging parents from enrolling children into schools. The language in the bill undermines Plyler v. Doe, a Supreme Court decision issued in 1982, which clarified that public education could not be denied to a child regardless of their immigration status. In May of this year, the Department of Education and Department of Justice issued a joint letter to clarify the Federal obligation on the rights of a child to enroll in public education.
The Department of Justice lawsuit is a reminder to all state legislatures considering their own version of SB 1070 that these proposals go against the U.S. Constitution and civil rights tenets of our country and must be rejected. We support the Department of Justice’s decision to file in Alabama and their commitment to evaluate this and other state proposals that are in conflict with our nation’s Constitution.