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Federal Court Blocks Two Key Pieces of Alabama’s Immigration Law

By Annie-Rose Strasser  

"Federal Court Blocks Two Key Pieces of Alabama’s Immigration Law"

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Previously, the Eleventh Circuit court of appeals blocked several parts of Alabama’s immigration law, including a provision requiring teachers or principals to determine the immigration status of their students. Today, a Federal appeals court blocked two more sections of the law, known as H.B. 56:

A federal appeals court on Thursday temporarily blocked two sections of Alabama’s tough new law targeting illegal immigration pending the outcome of legal challenges.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order blocking 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.

Alabama’s law was challenged last year by both the federal government and a coalition of activist groups, and the cases have been appealed to the 11th Circuit. A three-judge panel in that court heard arguments in the case last week but said it won’t rule on the challenges to Alabama’s law and another in Georgia until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a federal challenge to a similar law in Arizona.

As defined in Alabama’s law, denial of business transactions with undocumented immigrants meant that families could not get water in their homes, and they were not even allowed to do something as simple as get a library card. Even children who were U.S. citizens were unable to get food stamps,

The same provisions could have made it so that it would have been illegal to rent to an undocumented immigrant. No other state or nation has a ban like Alabama’s against contracts.

In an interview with the AP, Sam Brooke from the Southern Poverty Law Center, who argued before the court last week, said “We are very pleased that the Eleventh Circuit understood the harms these provisions were causing in Alabama, and saw fit to enjoin them… This is a great day for the residents of our state.”

The order handed down today, which can be read in full here, is more wide-reaching than any previous court decision. And while Alabama has considered new legislation that would change H.B. 56, none has made it very far.

The Governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, has already acknowledged that the law “need[ed] revision.” But ThinkProgress has argued that the law should be repealed. This ruling proves even more how important repeal is.

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