As you may know, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has asked the 11 th Circuit Court of Appeals to block the enforcement of Alabama’s immigration law until an appeal can be heard. Now, the DOJ has set up a hotline and an accompanying e-mail address for the public to report potential civil rights concerns related to the impact of the laws. The U.S. is appealing a Sept. 28 ruling by U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn in Birmingham, Alabama, that permits the state to enforce much of the legislation signed in June by Governor Robert Bentley. The Obama administration has asked the appeals court to block the provisions that allow police to question the immigration status of people detained for other reasons, that criminalize the failure of unregistered aliens to carry or produce necessary documents, and that make it a felony for those unlawfully in the country to do business with the state or any of its political subdivisions. The parts that were blocked off by Judge Blackburn included making it illegal for “unregistered aliens to apply for jobs or work in the state,” as well as a provision making it a crime to transport or harbor them. The appellate court has ordered expedited briefing on the substantive issues in the case. It is also fitting to note that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Southern Poverty Law Center have also sued on behalf of a coalition of other civil rights organizations and are appealing parts of Judge Blackburn’s Sep. 28 th decision. We shall be following the developments of this case very closely.
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