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Alabama appeals immigration law ruling to Supreme Court

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange [official website] on Tuesday asked [cert. petition] the US Supreme Court [official website] to overturn a recent decision striking down provisions of Alabama's controversial immigration law [HB 56, PDF]. Alabama is appealing a decision [JURIST report] issued last August by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] which struck down [opinion, PDF] several provisions of both Alabama's HB 56 as well as a recent Georgia immigration law [HB 87 text]. The petition for certiorari only asks the court to consider the constitutionality of a provision regarding the harboring or transporting of illegal immigrants without mention of other vacated provisions, including one which required public schools to check the immigration status of students and another which made it a crime for undocumented immigrants to solicit work. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) [advocacy website], which represented many of the plaintiffs in the suit contesting HB 56, responded to the news [statement] saying they are "deeply disappointed by the state's continued efforts to defend this immoral and reprehensible anti-immigrant law."

Immigration laws [JURIST backgrounder] have became a hot button issue over the past few years when many states, Arizona being the first, passed laws giving their state and local officials more power to crack down on illegal immigration. Last month a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia [official website] lifted a preliminary injunction [JURIST reports] blocking part of a Georgia immigration law that allows law enforcement officers to ask about immigration status when questioning suspects in criminal investigations. In November a judge for the US District Court for the District of South Carolina [official website] upheld [JURIST report] part of South Carolina's controversial immigration law [SB 20 materials] that permits law enforcement officials to detain motorists on the side of the road for a "reasonable amount of time" while the officer checks the driver's immigration status. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] in September denied a request for a new injunction against a controversial provision of Arizona's immigration law [SB 1070, PDF] which requires law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of persons they stop or arrest if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the US illegally. In August the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] again heard arguments [JURIST report] on two anti-illegal immigrant laws enacted in 2006 by the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which deny permits to businesses that employ illegal immigrants and fine landlords who extend housing to them.

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