Friday, September 30, 2011

Judge: Alabama Immigration Statute Not Preempted By Federal Law

When a federal judge issues a temporary injunction that prevents a law from going into effect, it is usually a precursor or figleaf for subsequently throwing out the entire law. Surprise: U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn Wednesday gave the green light to most of Alabama's immigration enforcement law, House Bill 56, that she had put on hold in August. Unlike Obamacare, for example, the Alabama law contained a severability clause that allows a judge to pick and choose among acceptable or unacceptable provisions.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn ruled that federal law does not prohibit state officials from checking the immigration status of students or suspects pulled over by police. Blackburn also refused to stop provisions that make it a misdemeanor for illegal immigrants not to carry immigration papers, allow police to hold suspected illegal immigrants without bond and bar state courts from enforcing contracts entered into by illegal immigrants.
Another example of misplaced priorities: Instead of running around the country suing states for taking action against illegal immigration, the Justice Department and the Obama administration should be using federal resources to securing our borders and enforcing existing law.

In her decision, Judge Blackburn wrote, in part, that
Nothing in the text of the [federal Immigration and Naturalization Act] expressly preempts states from legislating on the issue of verification of an individual’s citizenship and immigration status. There is also nothing in the INA which reflects Congressional intent that the United States occupy the field as it pertains to the identification of persons unlawfully present in the United States.
Read the full 115-page opinion here.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley comments on the ruling:

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