Most of state immigration law upheld

Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Most parts of Alabama’s immigration law will be able to go forward following a judge’s ruling Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn — a Brewton native — issued a ruling that allowed an injunction on parts of the law, including a provision that would criminalize those who help illegal aliens.

Blackburn upheld a section that asks law enforcement to detain those suspected of being in the country illegally. Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith and some other law enforcement officials have criticized that section, saying it would be difficult to enforce, especially with no extra funding from the state.

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Other sections upheld:

• One that makes it a felony for illegal aliens to seek license plates, driver licenses or business licenses. Tax collectors offices across the state had said the new provision would cause extra work in their offices. Gov. Robert Bentley unveiled a program this week to help alleviate some of that stress.

• A section that requires schools to check the citizenship status of students.

• A section that nullifies contracts knowingly entered into with illegal aliens.

But Blackburn issued injunctions in the following provisions:

• One that prevents illegal immigrants from seeking work as an employee or independent contractor.

• One that stops businesses from deducting the wages they pay illegal immigrants from their state taxes.

• One that allows workers were were fired or not hired instead of illegal immigrants to sue businesses for discrimination.

The law was originally set to go into effect Sept. 1, but Blackburn issued a temporary injunction while giving herself a chance to review the lawsuits.