The Southern Poverty Law Center and a coalition of other civil rights groups filed a motion asking a federal judge to block Alabama’s anti-immigrant law from taking effect Sept. 1.
The motion for preliminary injunction, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, follows a federal lawsuit the groups filed earlier this month that charged the law is unconstitutional on multiple grounds. Alabama’s law, which affects myriad aspects of daily life for countless Alabamians, is even more restrictive than Arizona’s infamous SB 1070, which has been blocked by the courts.
“This law so undermines our core American values of fairness and equality that it is essential this be weighed before the law is allowed to go into effect,” said SPLC Legal Director Mary Bauer. “When the speaker of the House, who championed this law and guided it to passage, is acknowledging it has problems, it is clear we have a serious issue.”
The Alabama law was signed into law in June by Gov. Robert Bentley and is the harshest of the Arizona copycat state laws.
The lawsuit charges that HB 56:
* Chills children’s access to public schools by requiring school officials to verify the immigration status of children and their parents.
* Authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops and criminalizes Alabamians for ordinary interactions with undocumented individuals.
* Unconstitutionally interferes with federal authority over immigration matters – a violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It also subjects Alabamians – including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents – to unlawful search and seizure, a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Alabama is one of six states that have enacted a law emulating Arizona’s controversial SB 1070. Federal courts have been unanimous in blocking similar provisions in Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia. The coalition has also vowed to challenge South Carolina’s anti-immigrant law.