A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked two sections of Alabama’s tough new law targeting illegal immigration pending the outcome of a legal challenge.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday issued an order blocking a section that says courts can’t enforce contracts involving illegal immigrants and another that makes it a felony for an illegal immigrant to do business with the state.
Critics of the Alabama legislation were delighted with the 11th Circuit ruling, while the state government expressed dismay.
“Today’s order brings immediate relief to countless Alabamians whose fundamental rights have been trampled by this anti-immigrant law,” Cecilia Wang of the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement. “These provisions were designed to make it impossible for ordinary families to live in Alabama by stripping them of their ability to engage in contracts – like rental agreements or car leases – and to do any business with the state government. They are unconstitutional and the court rightly blocked them pending a final ruling on the appeal.”
“I strongly disagree with the Eleventh Circuit’s decision today to temporarily enjoin two provisions of the immigration law that the District Court upheld,” Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said in a statement. “I will continue to vigorously defend Alabama’s immigration law in the courts. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court’s coming decision in the Arizona case will make clear that our law is constitutional.”
The case was seen as a precursor to the Supreme Court case which begins April 25, but while the three-judge panel heard arguments in the case last week it said it won’t rule on the challenges until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a federal challenge to a similar law in Arizona.
Alabama’s law was challenged last year by both the federal government and a coalition of activist groups, and the cases have been appealed to the 11th Circuit. Alabama’s immigrant population has been on edge since the law came forward.