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Appeals court puts temporary halt on part of immigration law

The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which covers Florida, also covers Alabama. The federal appellate court issued a ruling this week temporarily blocking part of the tough Alabama immigration law. However, the court refused to temporarily halt other aspects of the state immigration law.

As this blog has written before, a number of state immigration laws are making their way through the legal process as state and federal issues on immigration remain unclear. The Florida legislature considered several state immigration measures in the last session, without passing a measure.

The federal appeals court temporarily halted aspects of the Alabama law that required public schools to check the immigration status of new students and the provision allowing for law enforcement to bring criminal charges against immigrants who are unable to prove their immigration status.

The appellate court let stand the part of the state immigration law that allows police to check a person's legal status during a traffic stop in that state. Additionally, the federal appellate judges let stand provisions of the law that does not allow courts to enforce contracts entered into with undocumented immigrants, such as leases for housing, and a provision making it a felony for an undocumented immigrant to do business with the state, such as obtaining a driver's license.

The ruling did not provide a great deal of analysis. The ruling is only a temporary measure as the courts continue to grapple with the overall arguments in the challenge to the constitutionality of state immigration laws. The long-range outlook for state immigration laws remains undecided, and may ultimately be decided in the United States Supreme Court.

Source: AP via ABC News, "Court Blocks Ala. From Checking Student Status," Greg Bluestein and Jay Reeves, Oct. 14, 2011

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