Constitutional Law

DOJ Asks 11th Circuit for Emergency Stay of Ala. Immigration Law

After a partial defeat in its effort to block enforcement of a contraversial new immigration law in Alabama at the federal district court level, the U.S. Department of Justice is now seeking an emergency stay from a federal appeals court.

In a filing today, the DOJ asked the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency stay barring enforcement of the law until its constitutionality can be determined, according to CNN and Reuters.

“News accounts confirm that the law is having its intended but impermissible consequences of driving aliens from the state,” the DOJ said in its filing. The department contends that the state law unconstitutionally infringes on the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate immigration.

Under the new law, at least as a practical matter, Alabama citizens and other legal residents who are stopped by police for any reason can be jailed if they can’t provide documentation to show they are in the country legally, according to news reports.

The law also denies business and driver’s licenses to those who aren’t legally in the U.S. and permits the state to require schools to determine the immigration status of students. Some parents are already keeping their children home, the DOJ says.

An Associated Press article describes what it calls an exodus from the state not only of illegal but legal immigrant workers fearing repercussions from the new law.

The state “shrugged off” news of the 11th Circuit filing, says a Fox News article that relies on information from the Associated Press.

“The fact that the Department of Justice has appealed comes as no surprise,” said Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. “I remain committed to seeing that this law is fully implemented. We will continue to defend this law against any and all challenges.”

Additional and related coverage: “Oops. Yemen Man Cited in Alabama Senators’ Push to Enforce New Immigration Law Is a Legal Resident”

Associated Press: “US asks appeals court to halt Ala. immigration law”

BBC News: “Alabama immigration law challenged by US government”

Daily Caller: “Alabama official says tough immigration law leading to ‘self-deportation’ “

Morris News Service: “Illegal alien law worries SC farmers”

Oregonian (opinion): “Alabama’s message for Oregon: self-defeat”

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