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DOJ Files Emergency Appeal to Block Alabama Immigration Law

By Robyn Hagan Cain on October 07, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The U.S. Justice Department asked the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to stay an Alabama immigration law today, claiming that enforcement of the law would discriminate against foreign-born citizens and legal immigrants.

The law, Alabama House Bill 56 (HB 56), “requires public schools to check students’ immigration status, criminalizes giving an undocumented immigrant a ride, requires employers to use E-Verify to check potential employees’ status, and instructs police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect the person of being an undocumented immigrant,” reports the Latin America News Dispatch.

The Obama Administration's request comes just two days after U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn refused to halt all provisions of the law pending an appeal about the law's constitutionality. Judge Blackburn ruled last week that the state could begin enforcing most provisions of the Alabama immigration law, reports The Birmingham News.

In its motion to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department claims that HB 56 "contravenes the federal government's exclusive authority over immigration," reports Politico. The administration has also expressed concerns that the Alabama immigration law could impact diplomatic relations.

Alabama Republicans proposed HB 56 in an attempt to control illegal immigration in the state. Alabama's Hispanic population grew by 145 percent to over 185,000 people in the last decade, according to the AP.

Regardless of how the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals proceeds with regard to the Obama's Administration's emergency appeal, the state is prepared to defend HB 56. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley released a statement last week saying, "I remain committed to seeing this law fully implemented. I will continue to fight at every turn to defend this law against any and all challenges."

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