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Alabama was barred from enforcing two more provisions of its immigration law while a federal appeals court considers a challenge to the statute, described by critics as the harshest such measure in the country.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta yesterday expanded its Oct. 14 order blocking the state from implementing parts of the law, freezing enforcement of restrictions on transactions between the state and undocumented immigrants and a provision making private contracts unenforceable if either party was known to be undocumented.
U.S. Appeals Court Judge Charles Wilson said at a March 1 hearing that the court won’t issue an opinion on the Alabama statute until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a similar law enacted in Arizona. The appeals court is also considering an immigration law from Georgia.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, in a statement posted on his website yesterday, said, “I strongly disagree with the Eleventh Circuit’s decision. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court’s coming decision in the Arizona case will make it clear our law is constitutional.”
Arizona’s case goes to the high court in April.
The order freezing parts of the law echoed comments made by U.S. Appeals Court Judge Beverly Martin during oral arguments. She said the provision making it unlawful for the state to enter a contract with an illegal immigrant could stop an undocumented resident from even getting water service.
The other section in the law the court froze would have barred an illegal immigrant from leasing or renting a room or lodging for more than one night.
The “ruling strikes at the heart of this racist law and is yet another blow for the effort to pass similar laws across the country,” Mary Bauer, legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the groups challenging the law, said in a statement yesterday.
The case is U.S. v. Alabama, 11-14532, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Atlanta).
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