Federal Court Ruling on Alabama’s Anti-Immigrant Law Undermines Fundamental American Values

September 28, 2011

Decision Out-of-Step with Previous Rebukes to State Anti-Immigrant Laws

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal judge today blocked significant portions of the nation’s most extreme anti-immigrant law, but left large parts in place, undermining the most fundamental American values of fairness and equality and devastating thousands across the state, including citizens, lawful immigrants and immigrants without lawful status.

Despite the fact that courts in other states have rebuked similar laws, today’s decision allows police in Alabama to demand “papers” showing citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops. The court also refused to block the chilling effect the law will have on children's access to public schools by requiring school officials to verify the immigration status of children and their parents.

“While the court has blocked some extremely problematic provisions from going into effect, thereby allowing Alabamians to continue engaging in everyday activities such as seeking employment and giving rides to neighbors, we are deeply concerned by the decision to allow some unconstitutional provisions to stand,” said Andre Segura, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Laws that require police to demand ‘papers’ from people who they suspect appear undocumented encourage racial profiling, threaten public safety, undermine American values and have no place in our society.”

The ACLU and the ACLU of Alabama have been involved in the case as part of a coalition, which also includes the National Immigration Law Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Asian Law Caucus, the Asian American Justice Center, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

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