Parts of Alabama’s strict immigration law will remain in force until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on its predecessor, the Arizona statue that started a national firestorm in the debate over illegal immigration, NPR reports. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta put off action on lawsuits against measures in Alabama and Georgia. Supreme Court arguments are set April 25 over the constitutionality of Arizona’s enforcement policy.
Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah, and Indiana have passed legislation modeled on Arizona’s. The Justice Department has sued to block all the laws, arguing that the role of enforcement belongs solely to the federal government. Human-rights and immigrant-advocacy groups have filed suits contending that the laws violate individuals’ civil rights. Regardless of the outcome, advocates on both sides look forward to seeing the roles of federal and local authorities clarified, particularly given the inability of Congress to pass an overhaul of immigration laws. “We hope that folks in Washington will recognize that there is a real crisis that they helped create, and it’s their lack of leadership that has gotten us to this point,” says Sam Brooke, attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s challenge to the Alabama law.