Alabama Suits Seeking to Block Illegal Immigrant Restrictions Consolidated
Lawsuits by churches, the U.S. government and civil-rights groups seeking to stop Alabama from enforcing new restrictions on illegal immigrants will be heard as one.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn in Birmingham, Alabama, ordered the cases’ consolidation yesterday. Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Methodist bishops; the U.S. Justice Department, and the American Civil Liberties Union sued Alabama Governor Robert Bentley starting July 8.
Church leaders claim the law stops them from carrying out their religious mission by denying food, shelter and worship to people who are in the U.S. illegally. The U.S. says the law conflicts with federal authority over aliens, such as regulation of migrant employment. The ACLU, joined by the Southern Poverty Law Center, objected that transporting children who are illegal immigrants will be a crime.
The law requires the police to check the status of anyone they stop and suspect might be in the country illegally. Businesses will have to use a federal database called E-Verify to determine whether job applicants are eligible to work. Renting housing to illegal immigrants will be a crime.
An Aug. 24 hearing is scheduled on whether to stop the law temporarily from being enforced. It goes into effect Sept. 1. Alabama is the fifth state to enact similar legislation.
Under the consolidation, a lawsuit filed by the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, which includes the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center, will be the lead case where pleadings are filed. The two other suits will be member cases.
The case is Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, 11-cv- 02484, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham).
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