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Ala. Immigration Law: Settlement Would Block Parts of HB 56

By Betty Wang, JD on November 04, 2013 8:24 AM

A proposed settlement is set to block key parts of Alabama's controversial immigration law. If approved, it would end a legal challenge over the law.

Civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued Alabama over HB 56, one of the toughest anti-illegal immigration laws in the country. They're seeing this deal as a "significant victory," CNN reports.

The proposed settlement, filed in federal court last week, would preclude the enforcement of several portions of HB 56.

HB 56's Provisions

Alabama lawmakers passed HB 56 in 2011. The law stated that:

  • Police must detain anyone that they suspect is undocumented;
  • Police must ascertain a suspect's immigration status;
  • All public schools must verify and report the immigration status of students;
  • Businesses could have their licenses revoked for hiring undocumented workers;
  • It is illegal to knowingly transport an illegal immigrant;
  • It is illegal to knowingly rent a dwelling to an illegal immigrant; and
  • One cannot knowingly enter into a valid contract with an illegal immigrant.

Those who were opposed to the law included agricultural leaders who claimed HB 56 made it difficult for them to hire migrant laborers to harvest their crops.

The Proposed Settlement

The proposed agreement would block several parts of the law. While many portions of HB 56 were already temporarily halted by courts, according to Fox News Latino, the agreement would permanently block other provisions, including:

  • The requirement for public schools to collect information confirming the immigration status of their students;
  • The provision that prohibited giving rides to any undocumented immigrants; and
  • The section that criminalized any solicitation of work by undocumented immigrants.

In addition, the "show me your papers" provision, which lets police ask for citizenship documents, will no longer lead to detentions, an ACLU lawyer told Fox News.

The state has also agreed to $350,000 toward attorney fees and expenses for the civil rights groups who sued.

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