Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Federal government files suit challenging AL immigration law (WBRC-AL)

Federal government files suit challenging AL immigration law

Posted: Aug 01, 2011 5:46 PM

By Tiffany Glick

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Monday challenging Alabama's forthcoming immigration law, citing that the state's law is unconstitutional.

The court documents state that the "power to regulate immigration is exclusively vested in the federal government." It goes on to say a state may adopt its own regulations, but not if it interferes with federal immigration law. Alabama's law, they claim, does directly conflict with federal laws.

In a release from the DOJ, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said his office will take action against Alabama's law, just as it did in Arizona.

"Today's action makes clear that setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility that cannot be addressed through a patchwork of state immigration laws," Holder said. "The department is committed to evaluating each state immigration law and making decisions based on the facts and the law."

The motion argues that the federal government has made it their priority to target "high-priority aliens" who pose a danger to national security or to public safety. The Justice Department says Alabama's law would affect "virtually every aspect of an unauthorized immigrant's daily life," including housing, transportation, employment, signing contracts and going to school.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who filed suit along with the DOJ, said Alabama's legislation diverts critical law enforcement resources from local jurisdictions.

Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper said in the DOJ release that the new law will require his force to "expend scarce resources on immigration matters at the expense of" municipal priorities.

Last year the federal government successfully sued the state of Arizona over its immigration law, which like Alabama's may result in the harassment and detention of foreign visitors, legal immigrants and even U.S. citizens who may not be able to readily prove their lawful status.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley released a statement, reacting to the federal lawsuit: "Lawsuits have been filed in every state that has passed a strong immigration law. The Federal government did not do what it was supposed to do to enforce laws against illegal immigration. That is why I campaigned on the need for a strong immigration law in Alabama. The legislature passed that law and I signed it. I will continue fight at every turn to make sure we have a strong immigration law in Alabama."

No comments: