Sunday, February 10, 2013
On February 7, a coalition of civil rights organizations filed a lawsuit to stop a portion of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law requiring state officials to post an online list of immigrants who may be undocumented, without providing them with any way to contest their inclusion in the database. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama Northern Division on behalf of four Latino immigrants in Montgomery County who were arrested for allegedly fishing without a license, a misdemeanor offense.
“While the rest of the country focuses on how best to make Americans at heart become Americans on paper, Alabama continues to tread down a discriminatory, anti-immigrant path,” said Nora Preciado, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “This lawsuit proves once again that Alabama’s policies aren’t just unconstitutional, but also out of touch with the political mainstream.”
The latest attack on immigrants in Alabama is part of HB 658, a package of revisions to the state’s notorious anti-immigrant law, HB 56. HB 658 effectively doubled-down on the draconian nature of the original law enacted in 2011. Section 5 of HB 658 requires the state to compile and post on a public website the names and other information clearly identifying certain immigrants unable to prove their legal status when they are detained on any state charge, no matter how minor, and appear in state court. The plaintiffs in this case would fall within this requirement and be unconstitutionally added to this “blacklist.”