Alabama immigration law blocked by federal appeals court

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that Alabama cannot prosecute illegal immigrants for not carrying registration documents with them at all times or require schools to check the immigration status of all students.

But the court said Alabama, among other things, can require police officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they lawfully stop if they suspect they are in the country illegally. Illegal immigrants will also be prohibited from obtaining a license to drive, get a vehicle or open a business.

Alabama’s law, passed by the legislature this summer, would allow state and local officials to check the immigration status of public school students and to detain suspected undocumented immigrants without bond. It would make it a crime for immigrants who lack proper documents to conduct business with the state for things such as driver’s licenses.

Among the provisions temporarily blocked from being enforced are:
— One requiring state officials to check the immigration status of students in public schools;
— One making “willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration card” a misdemeanor for immigrants;
But the state will be allowed to enforce these contested sections:
— One requiring that police during “lawful” stops or arrests “attempt to determine the immigration status of a person who they suspect is an unauthorized alien of this country.

The order issued shortly before noon by the Atlanta-based appeals court followed requests by the U.S. Justice Department and group of 36 plaintiffs to stay the law pending an appeal of an earlier federal court ruling that left much of it in place.