Piece by piece, courts are stopping Alabama’s harshest in the nation law. On Thursday the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals blocked two more provisions of Alabama’s HB 56 from being enforced while courts decide the constitutionality of the law.
The federal appeals court ruled that Alabama may not enforce Sections 27 and 30 HB 56, which restricted undocumented immigrants’ business transactions with public entities and made any contract an undocumented immigrant entered into unenforceable. Both of these provisions have severe impacts on Alabama residents’ everyday lives. People in Alabama reported having their water shut off for weeks at a time because they could not provide adequate identification.
And advocates warned that under Section 30, undocumented immigrants who wanted to make a major purchase, or get a job, would not be able to defend themselves should those deals go bad because the law undercut their rights.
“These provisions were designed to make it impossible for ordinary families to live in Alabama by stripping them of their ability to engage in contracts - like rental agreements or car leases - and to do any business with the state government,” Cecilia Wang, director of ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project, said in a statement. “They are unconstitutional and the court rightly blocked them pending a final ruling on the appeal.”
However, a provision of HB 56 lifted straight from Arizona’s SB 1070 is still being enforced. In Alabama, police officers still may stop and question anyone they suspect may be undocumented. Civil rights advocates argue this provision all but mandates the use of racial profiling. A final ruling on that provision awaits the Supreme Court, which is set to hear arguments on SB 1070 this spring.