More of Alabama Immigration Law Declared Unconstitutional


Attorney General Eric Holder told an audience gathered at Birmingham, Alabama’s historic 16th Street Baptist Church Sunday that too many in Alabama “are willing to turn their backs on our immigrant past.”

He was referring to Alabama’s controversial recently enacted immigration law – his Justice Department has called the Alabama law a “sweeping new state regime” and taken the state to court. And the courts are now having the say on the law.

Writing in the Birmingham News, Joey Kennedy says that the repeated blows against the law in the courts are:

“What happens when the Legislature passes cruddy, hot-button, knee-jerk bills instead of doing a little homework to realize what’s going to work best and make that the law. For too many of our leaders, being self-righteously mean is much more fun.”

The law has driven thousands, including business owners and vital workers, out of the state, forcing chicken factories and others to close, and — as in neighboring Georgia — led to crops rotting in the fields.

Yet State Senator Scott Beason, the main sponsor of the bill, told the BBC that the law was “the best thing for the long-term economic health of our state.”

Another part of the law was knocked down Monday when Jefferson County Circuit Judge Scott Vowell declared the provision dealing with contracts null and void.

A car dealer had attempted to get a lawsuit tossed out that was filed last year by two men who said they were misled about the condition of cars they bought because the men were undocumented. His argument was that a sales agreement cited by the men was invalid because the new law prohibits contracts with undocumented immigrants.

Vowell said the Alabama constitution says the immigration law can’t stop contracts in force before the immigration law was passed as well as that the entire contracts section of the immigration law may be unconstitutional, but he tossed the issue back to the legislature saying that “this Court does not have to consider that broader issue because this suit has been commenced before the (immigration) Act was passed.”

Alabamans may not realize that this section means that in order to hire a contractor to fix a roof, you will need to check that they’re a citizen or have the appropriate visa.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn stopped enforcement on some provisions of the law last month, including a provision making it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an undocumented immigrant. A three-judge panel with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked enforcement of a few other provisions.

Says Kennedy:

“We know the law encourages profiling. We know it has caused problems in the farming and construction industries. We know it takes waiting in long lines for hours to renew a car tag. We know it’s splitting up families and causing even legal immigrants to flee Alabama because they don’t want to be harassed. Because of this law, even to check out a book at a Shelby County public library, a patron must prove his citizenship.”

“The immigration law is a bust. A good Legislature would realize its mistake and make it right. I’m not going to hold my breath; it’s pretty clear on this issue what kind of Legislature we have.”


Related Stories:

An Alternative to Alabama’s Direction on Immigration

Breaking — Federal Court Blocks Parts of Alabama’s Immigration Law

Legally OK to Racially Profile in Alabama


Picture source Andre Levy


Bruce S.
Bruce S6 years ago

Eric Holder thinks that openly opposing state laws, which is some instances merely mirror federal laws, while he fails to enforce existing federal law, will "help" Obama get re-elected by pandering to the legal Hispanic citizens, may be a mistake. There are many Hispanics who believe that illegal aliens who are Hispanic have made their lives more difficult, so Holder's failure to do his job could backfire.

The story states that U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn stopped enforcement of a provision of Alabama's law, making it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an undocumented immigrant. The only rational there could be here, is that federal law preempts state law and that the sections in question are already part of federal law. Now if the federal government would only enforce its own laws so that states can save any money they now spend to do the federal government's job, ALL citizens of the state would benefit.

Rachel S.
Rachel Scarlata6 years ago

I am embarrassed for my home state.

Theo C.
Theo C6 years ago

This is what I'm hearing from the defenders of the law: Don't challenge my sense of entitlement or I'll tear the whole house down!

Doesn't sound very mature to me.

Lynn C.
Lynn C6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Helen K.
Helen K6 years ago

Alabama, are you still flapping your gums while the crops rot? This is a burning issue, so I guess you should tune up your fiddles.

Juliet D.
judith sanders6 years ago

This article should have a link to the text of the law (HB 56), so we can see what it actually says. I read it, and it isn't as bad in some respects as most people think. However, it's worse in other ways.

Gloria Morotti
Gloria Morotti6 years ago

What? Huh? Dumbo.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

David Johnson
David Johnson6 years ago

To Rosemary G .Exellent points! I defiantely agree that WAY too Americans are so painfully ignorant of our country's history. Not only that but the vitriol leveled against undocumented immigrants truly frightens me. I seriously doubt that any of us if we look closely enough at our own antecedants, could truly say that all of our ancestors came here "legally".

Billie C.
Billie C6 years ago

illegal is illegal. if you want to come here get a visa. if you sneak in then you get shipped out. the feds won't do it obama wants that vote so states have to. i say even if the court says stop we say nope you are part of the problem since obama and holder aren't being held in contempt for not enforcing the law. obama picks which laws he wants to enforce there for states can make up their own and enforce them anyway they want. if states want to have illegals they can the states that don't want them should be able to pass laws to remove them.