A federal appeals court has blocked enforcement of parts of a controversial immigration enforcement law in Alabama.
The injunction issued Friday from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta came after the U.S. Justice Department - supported by a coalition of immigrant rights groups - requested the legislation, known as HB 56, be put on hold until the larger constitutional questions can be addressed, a process that could take some months at least.
The Obama administration argues the Constitution does not permit states to deter illegal immigration, saying an issue with foreign policy implications is the exclusive mandate of the federal government.
Alabama's law, passed by the legislature this summer, would allow state and local officials to check the immigration status of public school students; to detain suspected illegal aliens without bond; and make it a crime for immigrants who lack proper documents to conduct business with the state for things like driver's licenses.
Among selected provisions blocked from being enforced are:
– Section 10, requiring immigrants to carry an alien registration card;
– Section 28, allowing public school students to be questioned about their immigration status.
Among selected provisions Alabama will be allowed to enforce are:
– Section 30, blocking undocumented immigrants from entering into a "business transaction";
– Section 12, allowing local law enforcement to stop, detain or arrest upon reasonable suspicion anyone "unlawfully present" in the state