- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Key parts of Alabama immigration law upheld
A federal judge on Wednesday said Alabama law enforcement officers can try to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally, but blocked other parts of the state’s new crackdown law, which is the toughest in the country.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn said Alabama is allowed to tread anywhere that federal law doesn’t explicitly prohibit states from acting, which means the state can enact its own penalties for immigrants who fail to carry their registration papers, and can enable its state and local police to check immigration status.
“Local officials have some inherent authority to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law, so long as the local official ‘cooperates’ with the federal government,” the judge said in her 115-page decision.
And in a key part of her ruling, Judge Blackburn said the state can require schools to determine the legal status of students’ parents, though children of illegal immigrants may not be denied attendance.
But the judge did block four parts of Alabama’s law that she said go beyond what federal law allows: One provision created a civil action against employers who hired illegal immigrants over legal workers; another banned illegal immigrants from applying for a job; one made it a crime to harbor an illegal immigrant; and the other prohibited businesses from claiming tax deductions on wages paid to illegal immigrants.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley called the decision vindication for the state, and promised to appeal those parts of the law that were blocked.
“This fight is just beginning,” he said. “I am optimistic that this law will be completely upheld, and I remain committed to seeing this law fully implemented. I will continue to fight at every turn to defend this law against any and all challenges.”
The ruling marks a setback for the Obama administration, which had challenged the law along with several Alabama immigrant rights and religious groups, arguing only the federal government can regulate immigration.
Judge Blackburn, a 1991 appointee of President George H.W. Bush, disagreed, saying there are places where federal law invites cooperation, and places where it explicitly precludes it, and states are free to help in the former instance — as long as they don’t go beyond national law.
“Nothing in the text of [federal immigration law] expressly preempts states from legislating on the issue of verification of an individual’s citizenship and immigration status,” she wrote. “There is also nothing in the [law] which reflects congressional intent that the United States occupy the field as it pertains to the identification of persons unlawfully present in the United States.”
Late last month, Judge Blackburn had halted the entire law, saying she needed time to study it before issuing a full ruling, which she had promised before the end of September.
Her ruling puts her at odds with other federal courts that overturned Arizona’s crackdown law, passed last year. In that case, a district judge and then a three-judge appeals court panel both ruled that the federal government has primary authority in immigration law.
In that appeals court ruling, one judge dissented, and Judge Blackburn quoted heavily from Judge Carlos Bea’s opinion making the case that the federal government hasn’t precluded all state action.
In addition to its law enforcement provisions, the Alabama law requires all businesses to use E-Verify, a national database run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that allows employers to check potential hires’ Social Security numbers to see if they are authorized to work.
“We’re very pleased to see that 85 percent of our law will go into effect, and we can finally begin dealing with the problem of illegal immigration in Alabama,” said Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, a Republican. “The E-Verify provision is among the most meaningful and effective parts of this law. If we’re going to stop the flow of thousands of illegal immigrants into Alabama, we must shut off the magnet that is drawing them here.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- Wind farms: Interior Department sacrifices eagle protection for alternative energy
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Bipartisan House votes against 'patent trolls' who file lawsuits against innovators
- Bipartisan House votes to stop patent 'trolls'
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Galaxy S4 owner claims Samsung tried to silence him after phone caught fire
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow