ACLU and Civil Rights Coalition Welcome Opposition to Alabama’s Anti-Immigrant Law

August 11, 2011 5:15 pm

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of other civil rights groups welcomed today the filing of legal briefs on behalf of more than 90 advocacy groups and countries opposed to Alabama’s new anti-immigrant law, HB 56.

The groups cited the briefs as further evidence of the widespread harm the law will inflict across the state and the growing opposition to HB 56 and similar anti-immigrant measures across the country.

Nine amicus curiae briefs were filed last week in the civil rights coalition lawsuit challenging the law. The briefs demonstrate that the Alabama law interferes with U.S. diplomatic interests and encourages discrimination. Civil rights and education groups contend that the law will adversely impact victims of crimes, students with limited English proficiency, Alabama educators and others. The law is set to take effect on September 1.

“The outpouring of these briefs shows broad support for the lawsuits challenging this unconstitutional law,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “They condemn the Alabama law because it violates core civil rights and interferes with our government’s ability to protect our national interests on immigration and foreign relations.”

The coalition asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama last month to block the law from taking effect. The court has consolidated the coalition’s lawsuit with a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, which accuses the state of undermining federal immigration priorities, and a lawsuit filed by state religious leaders, which alleges the law criminalizes their ability to worship by making it a potential crime to be a good samaritan to an undocumented immigrant.

Mary Bauer, SPLC’s legal director, said: “We are pleased to see so many groups voice their opposition to a law that undermines the core American values of fairness and equality. These briefs show this law will wreak havoc across the state and trample the rights of countless residents – regardless of immigration status.”

Linton Joaquin, NILC’s general counsel, said: “The diversity of these amici briefs shows the staggering reach of HB 56 and the dire consequences its implementation would have on students, survivors of crime and people of color all across the state.”

HB 56 allows law enforcement officials to check individuals’ immigration status, makes it a crime to knowingly transport or house an undocumented immigrant and requires school officials to determine the immigration status of students and their parents, among other provisions.

Click here for a listing of the organizations that filed briefs.

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