Appeals Court Stays Parts of New Alabama Law

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court have stayed parts of Alabama’s controversial new immigration law, HB56, which requires schoolchildren and commuters to prove their immigration status, and makes it a crime to give an illegal immigrant a ride in a car.

In October 2011, Atlanta’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined two parts of HB56 until the appeals process is complete: the provision making it a crime to be undocumented, and the one requiring students to prove legal immigration status or be presumed undocumented. The court allowed two other provisions to stand, including a prohibition making it a felony for an undocumented person to enter into a business transaction with the state or any subdivision of it, and the provision permitting local law enforcement personnel to stop, detain, or arrest any person it suspects is in the state illegally.

Previously, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Blackburn stayed several parts of HB56 in three separate legal challenges to the Alabama law while those cases are pending. Stayed were provisions that make it illegal for an undocumented alien to attend or enroll in public, post-secondary educational institution, or to apply, solicit, or perform work as an employee or independent contractor, and provisions that prohibit drivers from impeding traffic or hiring and picking up an undocumented worker, or drive such persons to a job site, accepting a ride to a job site, or hiding an illegal alien at a job site. The three cases are Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley, Parsley v. Bentley and U.S. v. Alabama. In all of these cases, Blackburn ruled it likely that these sections of state law are pre-empted by federal law.

Blackburn also upheld some provisions of HB56, including the provision that requires schools to verify students’ immigration status, a position now reversed by the 11th Circuit.

Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit