Alabama’s new immigration law, giving police the power to verify the immigration status of people stopped for questioning, was temporarily blocked by a U.S. judge three days before it was scheduled to take effect.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn in Birmingham today barred enforcement of the law that includes provisions requiring police to verify the status of people stopped whom they suspect may be in the country illegally. The law also makes it a crime to knowingly rent housing to unlawful immigrants.
Christian clergy, the federal government and the American Civil Liberties Union asked Blackburn to halt the measure’s enforcement. Alabama deputy attorneys general John Neiman and Misty Fairbanks said the state has the right to police people in its own borders.
“In entering this order, the court specifically notes that it is no way addressing the merits of the motions,” Blackburn said in her two-page decision.
The judge said she’ll determine the legality of the act no later than Sept. 28 and that her order remains in effect until Sept. 29 or until she issues that ruling.
State Attorney General Luther Strange declined to comment on today’s decision, said a spokeswoman, Suzanne Webb.