Category Archives: October 2011

Court Blocks Elements of Alabama’s HB 56

October 14, 2011

Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; [email protected]
Marion Steinfels, SPLC, (334) 956-8417; [email protected]
Vesna Jaksic, ACLU national, (212) 284-7347 or 549-2666; [email protected]
Olivia Turner, ACLU, Alabama, (334) 265-2754 ext. 204; [email protected]
Laura Rodriguez, MALDEF, (310) 956-2425; [email protected]
Sin Yen Ling, Asian Law Caucus, (415) 896-1701; [email protected]
John Garcia, LatinoJustice PRLDEF: 212-739-7513; [email protected]

Federal Appeals Court Blocks Two Major Elements of Alabama’s Anti-Immigrant Law

Court responds to crisis that has embroiled Alabama for past two weeks

ATLANTA — A federal appeals court today blocked certain key provisions of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law while the constitutionality of the law is under determination. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit enjoined two provisions of the law that had gone into effect following a federal district court’s decision in Alabama. The injunction suspends these two provisions while the court of appeals considers the parties’ appeals from the decision of the lower court. Provisions that have not been enjoined by either the district court or the court of appeals remain in effect.

The provisions blocked by the court today are:

  • the provision that chills children’s access to schools by requiring school officials to verify the immigration status of children and their parents; and
  • the provision that criminalizes failure to register with the federal government and carry one’s “papers” at all times.

Major parts of the law went into effect two weeks ago, creating a crisis in the state. Many families have fled Alabama while others have been denied access to water, pulled their children out of schools, and a climate of fear and panic has set in Alabama. The following can be attributed to the civil rights coalition that challenged HB 56 through HICA v. Bentley:

“We are pleased that the court blocked these damaging elements of the law. But portions of the law that remain in place will continue to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Alabama. In just two weeks that the law has been in effect, families have been fleeing the state, children have been pulled out of schools, and businesses have been put in jeopardy. This law sadly revisits Alabama’s painful racial past and tramples the rights of all its residents.”

The coalition includes the National Immigration Law Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Alabama, the Asian Law Caucus, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, AAJC, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

See the 11th Circuit’s Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part the Motion for Injunction (PDF).

 La corte responde a la crisis que ha envuelto a Alabama en las dos últimas semanas

14 de octubre del 2011

ATLANTA — Una Corte Federal de Apelaciones bloqueó hoy algunas disposiciones claves de la ley Anti-inmigrante de Alabama, mientras se determina la constitucionalidad de la misma. La Corte de Apelaciones de Estados Unidos para el Circuito 11 bloqueó dos disposiciones de la ley que habían entrado en vigor debido a la decisión de un tribunal federal de distrito en Alabama. La medida suspende estas dos disposiciones, mientras que la Corte de Apelaciones considera las apelaciones presentadas por las partes respecto a las siguientes medidas. Aquellas disposiciones que no han sido bloqueadas, ya sea por el Tribunal de Distrito o la Corte de Apelaciones permanecerán en vigor.

Las disposiciones bloqueadas hoy por el Tribunal son las siguientes:

  • La disposición que desalienta el acceso de los niños a las escuelas al requerir a los funcionarios de la escuela el verificar el estatus migratorio de los niños y sus padres, y
  • La disposición que penaliza la falta de registrarse con el gobierno federal y de llevar consigo “papeles” en todo momento.

La mayor parte de la ley entró en vigor hace dos semanas, creando una crisis en el estado. Muchas familias han huido de Alabama, mientras que a otras se les ha negado el acceso a servicio de agua, muchas de ellas sacaron a sus hijos de las escuelas, todo esto en medio de un clima de miedo y pánico que prevalece en Alabama.

Lo siguientes es atribuido a la coalición de derechos civiles que impugnó la HB 56 en el caso HICA v Bentley:

“Nos complace que la corte bloqueó estos elementos perjudiciales de la ley. Sin embargo, otras partes de la ley que permanecen en vigor continuarán exacerbando la crisis humanitaria en Alabama. En sólo dos semanas que la ley ha estado en vigor, familias han huido del estado, los niños han sido sacados de las escuelas y los negocios se han puesto en peligro. Esta ley lamentablemente revive el doloroso pasado racial de Alabama y pisotea los derechos de todos sus residentes”.

La coalición incluye el Southern Poverty Law Center, la American Civil Liberties Union, el National Immigration Law Center, ACLU de Alabama, el Asian Law Caucus, el National Day Laborers’ Organizing Network, AAJC, y Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Vea el orden de la Corte del Undécimo Circuito otorgando en parte y denegando en parte la propuesta de orden judicial.


NILC Files Lawsuit Against South Carolina’s SB 20

October 12, 2011

Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; [email protected]

Class-Action Lawsuit Filed in the Wake of Crisis in Alabama as a Result of Similar State Immigration Law

CHARLESTON, S.C. – A coalition of civil rights groups today filed a lawsuit against South Carolina’s anti-immigrant law, charging it is unconstitutional, invites racial profiling, and interferes with federal law.

Today’s complaint was filed in the wake of devastating harms only two weeks after a similar anti-immigrant law went into effect in Alabama, where families have been afraid to leave their homes and individuals have been stopped and questioned about their immigration status.

The lawsuit charges that the law, SB 20, subjects South Carolinians – including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents – to unlawful search and seizure and interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters. The law requires police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops when they have “reasonable suspicion” that a person lacks immigration status and criminalizes South Carolinians for everyday interactions with undocumented individuals, such as driving someone to church, or renting a room to a friend.

South Carolina’s law, which is slated to take effect Jan. 1, was inspired by Arizona’s pernicious SB 1070. Federal courts have blocked implementation of key provisions of Arizona’s law, as well as similar laws in Indiana and Georgia. A federal judge in Alabama recently allowed key provisions of its anti-immigrant law to take effect, leading to devastating humanitarian and economic consequences throughout the state. The coalition also has a pending case against Utah’s anti-immigrant law.

The coalition includes the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of South Carolina, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, the Asian Law Caucus, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the law firms of Rosen, Rosen & Hagood and the Lloyd Law Firm.

Nora Preciado, staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, said: “South Carolina now shares with Arizona and Alabama the dubious distinction of fundamentally hindering daily activities not only of people of color but of all people in their states. We’re filing this lawsuit today to defend the constitutionally-protected freedoms that are held in dangerous disregard by these state legislators.”

Andre Segura, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said: “This lawsuit is the latest in our ongoing fight against these unconstitutional laws. In recent days, we have seen the destructive results of a similar law in Alabama, and the people of South Carolina should not face the same fate. This draconian law must be blocked, as it tramples our American values, interferes with federal laws and risks turning South Carolina into a police state.”

Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina, said: “By requiring local law enforcement officials to act as immigration agents, this law invites discrimination against anyone who looks or sounds ‘foreign,’ including American citizens and legal residents. It will make criminals out of good samaritans, harm victims of crime and abuse, hamper police in preventing and solving crimes, and create a climate of fear and prejudice in South Carolina.”

Victor Viramontes, MALDEF national senior counsel, said: “South Carolina’s destructive law unfairly and illegally targets the Latino community with improper arrests and detentions. This anti-immigrant law also illegally interferes with the Federal Government’s ability to have a single rule of law for immigration.”

SPLC Legal Director Mary Bauer, said: “Over the last two weeks, South Carolina and the nation have watched the devastation caused when laws like this go into effect as families have fled Alabama, businesses have lost patrons and a climate of fear and hate have settled over the state. These are the reasons we are continuing to fight against these hateful and clearly unconstitutional laws with this lawsuit challenging South Carolina’s own hateful measure.”

LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s attorney Foster Maer, said: “Latino immigrants continue to get unfairly blamed for all that ails our economy. This race-based demonization has no place in our post-segregation world. If unchecked, Latinos will be hunted down, subject to intensive status verifications every time they jaywalk, and become the new second class citizenry, an outcome abhorrent to anyone mindful of our country’s past.”

See the complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief (PDF).

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NILC Responds to Fed. District Court Decision

October 5, 2011

Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; [email protected]

Organizations Will Appeal to Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Seek Injunction to Stop Key Elements of Law

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The federal district court today denied emergency requests to block harmful provisions of HB 56, Alabama’s anti-immigrant law. The requests to block key provisions of the law were made by a coalition of civil rights organizations, as well the U.S. Department of Justice. In its emergency request, the coalition presented evidence of harms already suffered by Alabamians as a result of provisions that were allowed to take effect Sept. 28.

The civil rights coalition challenging this law will file an emergency request with the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to stop these provisions from taking effect, pending the resolution of their appeal. The civil rights plaintiffs and their counsel are committed to pursuing all legal avenues to ensure the eventual defeat of this misguided law.

The civil rights organizations involved in HICA v. Bentley, the class-action challenge to Alabama’s anti-immigrant law, include the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Alabama, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Asian Law Caucus, the Asian American Justice Center, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Day Laborers’ Organizing Network, and LatinoJustice-PRLDEF.

More information about HICA v. Bentley available.

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