A new section that would require the AL DHS to post names of undocumented immigrants
who appear in state court. It requires the Alabama Department of Homeland Security to post the list on its website.
SPLC: "It's very problematic as a policy matter, and there’s obviously some constitutional issues
State asks court to remove immigration law injunctions
Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, is co-sponsor of the state's immigration law.
The Alabama attorney general’s office asked a federal court Thursday to lift injunctions against certain sections of the state’s immigration law, citing changes signed by Gov. Robert Bentley earlier this month.
The move came as opponents mulled a new challenge to the law, known as HB 56, particularly a new section that would require the Alabama Department of Homeland Security to post names of undocumented immigrants who appear in state court
In the briefs, filed Thursday, the attorney general’s office said the changes — pulled together in an act known as HB 658 — satisfy court objections to sections of the law banning undocumented immigrants from attending Alabama post-secondary institutions and state and local agencies from entering into business transactions with undocumented immigrants
U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn blocked the school section last September, saying the law’s definition of “unlawfully present alien” conflicted with federal law, and required an injunction.
Blackburn wrote that she believed the state could ban undocumented immigrants from its institutions
Last March, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined the business transactions section. The judges did not give a reason for their decision
. Opponents of the law argued that as written, the law could ban undocumented immigrants from receiving water service.
In September, the Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board initially denied a Mexican immigrant water and sewer service. Board officials cited the law in making the decision, but reversed themselves later because the denial took place during a month-long period when the law as a whole was blocked.
The changes approved by the Legislature replace “business transactions” with “public records transactions
” and restrict the ban to business licenses and motor vehicle transactions.
The attorney general’s brief with the office said that was always their interpretation of the law
, and urged that the injunction be lifted.
On the post-secondary ban, attorneys noted that the bill had been rewritten to comply with federal definitions, removing Blackburn’s initial objections.
Challenges to Alabama’s immigration law are still pending in federal courts.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in U.S. v. Arizona over Arizona’s state immigration law, which served as a model for Alabama’s. The high court’s decision will likely have ramifications for the Alabama challenges
Opponents of the state’s immigration law plan a rally against the law Sunday, and have condemned both the original law and the changes made in the current session
. HB 658 added a new section requiring the Administrative Office of Courts to compile a quarterly list of undocumented immigrants who appear in court for violations of state law. It requires the Alabama Department of Homeland Security to post the list on its website.
Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, has said the section is a way to track the law’s enforcement
, particularly by judges.
Critics, including Mary Bauer, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center
, call it a “scarlet letter” provision.
“We think it’s very problematic as a policy matter, and there’s obviously some constitutional issues
,” she said Friday.
Bauer said the law did not explain how one got on or off the list, especially if they were there wrongfully.
The SPLC is representing plaintiffs in suits against the law, and Bauer said additional suits could be coming.
“We are considering that,” she said. “We’re looking at that hard. We’ll be making an evaluation of what is appropriate moving forward.”