MONTGOMERY, Ala., June 6 (UPI) — Opponents to a tough immigration bill passed last week by the Alabama Legislature say they plan to take the matter to court.
If Republican Gov. Robert Bentley signs the bill into law, Alabama would join Georgia as the only states to pass Arizona-style immigration changes this year, Stateline.org reported Monday
The legislation, modeled after a controversial bill signed into law last year in Arizona, would make it a crime for an undocumented person to work in Alabama, allow law enforcement officials to detain immigrants if they have “reasonable suspicion” the person stopped is not a citizen or lawful alien, make unlawful any contract made with those in the country illegally, provide penalties for businesses hiring undocumented immigrants and require businesses to enroll in the federal e-Verify system to check the status of their employees.
An attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center said the organization would mount a court challenge unless Bentley vetoes it, the Montgomery Herald reported Monday.
“It is, frankly, un-American,” said Sam Brooke, who works with the center’s Immigrant Justice Project. “It’s encouraging racial profiling.”
Bentley’s press secretary, Leah Gardner, said the governor would “examine the bill thoroughly” before signing, amending or vetoing it. During his State of the State in March, Bentley voiced support for the legislation.
Jared Shepherd, a law fellow with American Civil Liberties Union in Alabama, told the Herald the organization was weighing its options, adding, “I can’t imagine a scenario where we with our partner organizations don’t file a lawsuit.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU are part of a lawsuit challenging an immigration bill passed in Georgia earlier this year. The lawsuit argues that Georgia’s law interferes with the federal government’s supremacy in dealing with immigration matters, violates equal protection measures and authorizes unreasonable searches and seizures.
Portions of the Arizona law have been under a restraining order as a challenge works its way through the courts.