Opponents of Alabama’s ill-advised and politically motivated immigration law won a big victory last month. In a settlement, the State of Alabama agreed not to pursue key provisions of the law that was doomed to failure from the start. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state’s appeal of a federal court’s ruling that virtually gutted the law. Considered to be the toughest immigration law in the country when it took effect in 2011, the measure was challenged soon after it was approved. Opponents to the law included the U.S. Justice Department, a coalition of civil rights groups, and a number of religious groups. The suit’s challengers in court included the Southern Poverty Law Center. The following provisions of the law are now permanently blocked:
This past spring, Supreme Court justices voted 8-1 to let a lower court ruling stand that blocked essential parts of the law. The Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit had ruled that the immigration law is primarily the responsibility of the federal government. It was quite obvious that the law had serious constitutional and enforcement problems. It was passed with little real thought and has resulted in tremendous expense to the state and to a lesser extent local governments.
As part of the settlement, Alabama will have to pay some $350,000 to cover the opposing coalition’s legal costs. At press time, final resolution of the case was pending a court review. Hopefully, those who pushed this legislation for purely political purposes and with no real consideration for its consequences have learned a good lesson.
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