Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley

October 29, 2013

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit charging that Alabama’s extreme anti-immigrant law is unconstitutional in that it unlawfully subjects Alabamians - including countless U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents - to unlawful search and seizure, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The lawsuit also charges that the law unlawfully deters immigrant families from enrolling their children in public schools; unconstitutionally bars many lawfully present immigrants from attending public colleges or universities in Alabama; drastically restricts the right to enter into contracts; and interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters, in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The draconian law is even more restrictive than the Arizona law it was inspired by.

The Alabama law 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, everyday interactions with undocumented individuals. The lawsuit charges that the extreme law endangers public safety, invites the racial profiling of Latinos, Asians and others who appear foreign to an officer and interferes with federal law.

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