Published: 2:34 PM 06/10/2011 | Updated: 2:38 PM 06/10/2011
The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, in conjunction with several other civil rights groups, is planning to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the immigration policy Alabama Gov. Robert J. Bentley signed into law Thursday.
Alabama’s new law will require schools, businesses, and landlords to verify the immigration status of their students, employees and tenants, respectively. Police will be allowed to detain people on suspicion of being in the country illegally and it will be unlawful to give a ride to an undocumented immigrant.
The new law has been described as tougher than Arizona’s SB 1070 – which has caused such a storm in recent months – and will go into effect on September 1.
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Los Angeles Times that the new law would likely reduce illegal immigration in the state.
“I think this shows one more case of states moving to do what the Obama administration is unwilling to do,” Krikorian said. “This wouldn’t be happening if the administration were credible on enforcement, but it’s just not.”
Nevertheless civil liberties activists are up in arms and preparing to mount their legal challenge.
“This law is an outrageous throw-back to the pre-Civil Rights era, going beyond the discriminatory and unconstitutional police practices that we’ve seen in other states,” Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.
“It blocks the schoolhouse doors to children, will result in people being turned away when they try to rent a home, and places burdens on people of color at the voting booth. By signing this bill into law, Gov. Bentley has codified official discrimination in the State of Alabama. We will take action to keep this law from going into effect to ensure that the civil rights and liberties of all Alabamans are protected,” Wang added.
According to Fox News Latino, the governor is sure the law will stand up to legal scrutiny.
“We have a real problem with illegal immigration in this country,” Bentley said. “I campaigned for the toughest immigration laws, and I’m proud of the Legislature for working tirelessly to create the strongest immigration bill in the country.”