Constitutional Law

Oops. Yemen Man Cited in Alabama Senators' Push to Enforce New Immigration Law Is a Legal Resident

A misdemeanor charge against an alleged undocumented immigrant in Etowah County, Ala., last week was billed as the first in the state under a controversial new law that allows police to check the immigration status of an arrestee.

Taken into custody Friday for allegedly obstructing a government operation during a drug raid, Mohamed Ali Muflahi, 24, who is from Yemen, was then charged with a misdemeanor immigration offense when he couldn’t produce paperwork, such as a driver’s license, to prove that he is in this country legally, reported the Gadsden Times.

A group of state senators wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding an investigation of how a man from a part of the globe considered by many a terrorism incubator could be in the U.S. without documentation and scheduled a news conference yesterday, the Associated Press reported.

There was just one problem: Muflahi, in fact, is a legal resident, as his lawyer was able to prove, the AP says.

The news conference was canceled and Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin said a learning curve is underway for all involved in such situations. He also said that any arrestee who can’t prove that he is legally in the U.S. will be charged with an immigration offense, according to another Gadsden Times article.

A New York Times article provides further details about the Alabama immigration law, considered the strictest in the country, which was challenged, largely unsuccessfully, by Holder.

Related coverage: “Supreme Court to Decide Deportation Case Involving Children of Immigrants”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.