A judge will decide soon on the constitutionality of Alabama’s new law restricting illegal immigration, says the Christian Science Monitor. Critics say the legislation, due to go into effect Sept. 1, may drive undocumented workers to neighboring states. Proponents of the law say that illegal immigrants to the state – whose numbers have increased dramatically – are taking precious jobs away from legal residents.
Under the statute, law enforcement can detain people suspected of entering the country illegally if they do not produce proof of residency and employers or individuals face penalties if they knowingly transport, harbor, or hire illegal immigrants. A hearing on the law yesterday was the result of lawsuits collectively launched by the Obama administration, national civil rights groups, and state church leader. U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn said she believed “there are a lot of problems” with the statute. Blackburn acknowledged that the language in the bill is unclear on details regarding the process of demanding documentation at police stops and whether state schools have the right to demand the birth certificates of parents.