As the New York Times reported on Monday, the United States Department of Justice filed a complaint challenging Alabama’s new immigration law, HB 56, on Monday in the Northern District of Alabama. The Justice Department argues that the “the state law conflicts with federal law and undermines federal immigration priorities” and that states cannot create their own, individual immigration policies.
Similar to the Arizona law currently being challenged by the Justice Department, the Alabama law allows police officers to arrest individuals suspected of being in the United States illegally during routine stops for traffic offenses. The law also criminalizes knowingly shelter or harbor illegal immigrants and requires businesses to use E-Verify to determine employees’ immigration statuses.
Unique to the Alabama law is the requirement that public schools report the immigration status of all students. Immigration advocates fear that the law will “in effect, ban the student through fear and harassment.” Other actions criminalized by the law include knowingly transporting an illegal immigrant and renting to an illegal immigrant.
The Justice Department’s complaint is the fourth filed in challenge of the Alabama law. In early July, civil rights groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, ACLU, and National Immigration Law Center, sued to block the enforcement of the law, set to take effect on September 1. A group of undocumented immigrants filed suit in state court in late July challenging the law for contradicting Alabama’s state constitutional provisions encouraging immigration. Leaders of Alabama Methodists, Episcopals, and Catholics filed suit earlier this week claiming the law “make[s] it a crime to follow God’s command to be Good Samaritans.”
The final outcome of the Alabama law most likely ultimately lies with Supreme Court, which will most likely have to hear arguments on a challenge to one of the new string of immigration laws that have passed in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Utah.
Read the full New York Times article here.