Judge blocks Alabama immigration law

Aug. 30, 2011 at 9:03 AM
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MONTGOMERY, Ala., Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A law making it a crime to be an undocumented alien in Alabama was temporarily blocked by a federal judge just days before it was due to go into effect.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn said she will rule no later than Sept. 28 on a request to stop some or all parts of the law from taking effect, the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser reported Tuesday.

In the meantime, Blackburn said the law would be delayed until Sept. 29.

Opponents of the measure asked Blackburn to block the statute while their legal challenge of its constitutionality goes forward.

Most of the statute's provisions had been scheduled to become law on Thursday.

In addition to making it a state crime to be an undocumented alien, the measure gives law enforcement the ability to detain those they have "reasonable suspicion" of being in the country illegally.

The law also makes it a crime to harbor or transport undocumented aliens, including rides to workplaces.

Blackburn heard arguments for the injunction during a 9-hour hearing last week and issued her decision Monday.

"We must remember today's ruling is simply the first round in what promised to be a long judicial fight over Alabama's right to protect its borders," said Micky Hammon, Alabama House majority leader.

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