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11th circuit provides mixed results on Georgia, Alabama immigration laws, P.2

In the last post, this blog began a discussion of Monday's rulings from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on two of Florida's neighboring states' immigration laws. Florida is one of three states that are covered under the 11th circuit. The last entry looked at Monday's decision regarding injunctions in federal litigation challenging Georgia's state immigration law.

In a separate ruling Monday the federal appellate court ruled that Alabama's law that requires public schools to look into a new student's immigration status cannot stand. The 11th circuit appellate judges ruled that the provision violated the Equal Protection Clause.

The court ordered that the trial court injunction barring the state from enforcing the public school immigration status check should stand. The court said that the provision targets undocumented immigrants and interferes with the kid's ability to enroll in public school to get an education.

The appellate court also blocked enforcement of Alabama's state immigration law requiring immigrants to carry identification, and the portion of the law banning contract with undocumented immigrants. The appellate judges say that the contract law was created with the goal of "forcing undocumented individuals out of Alabama," according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

The appellate court let stand the portion of Alabama's immigration law that allow local and state police to detain people who law enforcement has a "reasonable suspicion" of unlawfully being in the United States. The Alabama law also requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of people found without a driver's license.

The two appellate rulings Monday dealt with whether or not preliminary injunctions barring enforcement of the state immigration laws should stand while challenges to the laws are litigated in the federal trial court. The rulings do not directly deal with the underlying merits of the federal litigation.

However, in making a ruling on a preliminary injunction, judges at the trial and appellate levels generally consider the likelihood of success on the merits of the issue in court. Monday's rulings provide some of the reasoning for issuing the injunctions.


  • CBS News, "Court: Ga. police may verify immigration status," Aug. 21, 2012
  • Montgomery Advertiser," Federal court continues to block key immigration law elements, affirms others," Brian Lyman, Aug. 20, 2012

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