U.S. seeks immediate stay of Alabama immigration law

WASHINGTON Fri Oct 7, 2011 7:07pm EDT

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration sought an immediate order on Friday to block Alabama's strict new immigration law pending appeal, arguing it was already driving immigrants out of the state.

The Justice Department asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, to stay the law after a federal judge in Alabama refused to do so because she said the government had not established there would be substantial harm to the public interest.

The controversial state law allows police to detain people suspected of being in the country illegally if they cannot show proper documentation when stopped by authorities for any reason.

The law also permits the state to require public schools to determine the legal residency of children and bars illegal immigrants from getting a driver's license or business license. U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn upheld those provisions of the law last week.

The Obama administration has already appealed her ruling to the 11th Circuit, arguing that it interferes with the federal government's exclusive authority over immigration. In addition to seeking a temporary stay pending appeal, the Justice Department asked that the case be expedited.

"News accounts confirm that the law is having its intended but impermissible consequences of driving aliens from the state," the Justice Department said in its emergency stay request, adding that parents were already keeping their children home from school.

The Alabama law passed both chambers of the Republican-led legislature by large margins earlier this year, with lawmakers saying Obama administration had not done enough to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the country.

"The Obama Administration is all talk and no action on dealing with this nation's illegal immigration problem," Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard said in a statement, adding he believed the federal government had "willfully relinquished its responsibility to enforce its immigration law."

"Instead of taking a leadership role in fixing this country's broken immigration system, President Obama wants to impose his attitude of inaction on our state," he said.

Several states have passed new laws aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration, arguing the Obama administration was not doing enough to deter it. There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Federal judges in Georgia, Arizona, Utah and Indiana previously have blocked parts of similar state laws aimed at trying to stem illegal immigration.

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington and Peggy Gargis in Birmingham; Editing by Sandra Maler and Cynthia Johnston)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (8)
JamVee wrote:
The Obama administration doesn’t want this law to be enforced, because “it is already driving illegal immigrants out of the state”.

According to numerous political pundits (both sides of the aisle), it is IMPOSSIBLE” to get rid of 12-1/2+ million illegals, due to their sheer numbers.

Well, hello . . . , maybe all we need is more tough state laws and vigorous enforcement and they will go away all by themselves. HOW ABOUT THAT?

Oct 07, 2011 1:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
iceman-2004 wrote:
So we have federal statues on the books requiring the federal government to control our borders and immigration into this country. To do so there are several considerations to be taken into account, ie: impact on immigrations levels from other countries, the prospective immigrant’s probable status as a contributor, burden, or threat to our society and economy. In any event, we’ve had laws and procedures in place for decades to protect our own work force and it is now needed more than ever to protect our diminished employement opportunities and welfare coffers.
This administration continues to thumb it’s nose at their sworn duty to uphold the laws of this country. To add insult to injury it has expended efforts to assist foreign nationals entering and residing illegally in this country by attacking any state that attempts to protect the best interest of their citizens by passing laws discouraging illegal residency by foreign nationals.
The keyword now used by the left is “REFORM” which in essence means, eliminate all barriers to immigration.
If we’re to do that for the sake of growing the leftwing voter block, why don’t we reform all laws so that speeders, trespassers, burglars and other non-violent criminals are not harrases by racist police of citizens, since that has always been the arguement of the leftwing proponents of illegal immigration to include this administration.

Oct 07, 2011 1:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Onerioi wrote:
“There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.” Who employs all of these illegal immigrants? Fine them. It will help reduce the deficit. If there was no one using these people for cheap labor, they would leave.

Oct 07, 2011 1:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.