Court Ruling Paves Way for Alabama to Partner in Immigration Enforcement
(September 28, 2011 — Washington, D.C.) — The Obama administration’s effort to halt state enforcement of immigration laws was dealt a blow today when U.S. District Judge Susan Lovelace Blackburn refused to block key provisions of Alabama’s landmark immigration law. In August, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sought an injunction to block implementation of the Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act(H.B. 56). Judge Blackburn’s ruling leaves intact most of the law including the provision requiring police to verify the immigration status of someone when reasonable suspicion exists that the individual is an illegal alien.
Dan Stein, President of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) stated, “Judge Blackburn’s ruling provides welcome relief for the residents of Alabama. Today’s decision means that other states, burdened by the cost and impact of illegal immigration, don’t have to sit idle while the Obama administration continues to ignore their problem.”
Importantly, Judge Blackburn’s ruling unmistakably recognizes Congress’s intent that state and local governments should be meaningful partners in the enforcement of our immigration laws. Blackburn repeatedly rejected arguments by the DOJ that states may not adopt and enforce laws that mirror federal immigration laws, at one point succinctly declaring,”[I]t is not inconsistent with the purpose of Congress to do that which Congress has already done.” Stein agreed, “States are seeking only reasonable enforcement of rational laws — applying the same laws as the federal government, not exceeding it but complementing it — and that’s exactly what the Alabama bill does.”
Today’s ruling is in stark contrast to the recent ruling in Arizona which enjoined most sections of SB-1070, another DOJ initiated lawsuit. Stein concluded, “Stopping states from attempting to protect the interests of their legal residents is not the slam dunk the Obama Administration thought it was.”