In a blow to Alabama’s toughest-in-the-nation immigration law, a federal appeals court sided with the Obama administration Friday when it blocked public schools from checking the immigration status of students. This will allow students enrolled since September 1, 2011 to continue going to high school. This 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision said that police can’t charge immigrants who are unable to prove their citizenship, but it allowed some parts of the law to remain effective. Since the Alabama law was effective for three weeks it led to many Hispanics fleeing the state for other more friendly terrain. Children were taken out of school and workers stopped showing up for work.
From the perspective of the immigrant without status, this is only a partial victory for police as still permitted to do random traffic stops to check a person’s immigration status. Licenses for businesses such as taxi cab drivers and any others are not given and it is a felony for them to work. This compounds the problem as they also cannot get driver’s licenses and since they are persona non gratis or do not in effect have rights, they also cannot have any contracts enforced against them by the courts such as business contracts or leases. This is clearly a financial burden and loss for the entire state that is creating a population of shadow individuals with no rights and no ability for citizens of the state to enforce their contracts with these individuals. Potentially since they cannot work it could also increase the crime rate for the state. Citizens depending on the labor of these experienced workers have had to shut down or scale back operations with no employees to handle the work.
The Atlanta-based appeals court blocked part of the law that required school officials to verify the citizenship status of students enrolled after Sept. 1.It also barred enforcement of a section that let police file a misdemeanor charge against anyone who is in the country illegally and doesn’t have federal registration papers.
While Alabama Republicans said the law was needed to protect the jobs of legal residents in this time of high unemployment, this is clearly a smoke screen for discrimination. House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who promoted this law said, “We’ve said from the beginning that Alabama will have a strict immigration law and we will enforce it. Alabama will not be a sanctuary state for illegal aliens, and this ruling reinforces that.” Once again, as in Arizona, Utah, Indiana, South Carolina and Georgia, Alabama claims that the federal government left the problem of dealing with immigration illegal immigrants to the state by failing to deal with it.
Danielle Beach-Oswald is the current President and Managing Partner of Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates in Washington, DC. Ms. Beach utilizes her 19 years of experience in immigration law to help individuals immigrate to the United States for humanitarian reasons. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Ms. Beach has lived in England, Belgium, Italy and Ivory Coast and has traveled extensively to many countries. Ms. Beach advocates for clients from around the world who seek freedom from torture in their country, or who are victims of domestic violence and trafficking. She has also represented her clients at U.S. Consulates in Romania, China, Canada, Mexico, and several African countries. With her extensive experience in family-based and employment-based immigration law Ms. Beach not only assists her clients in obtaining a better standard of living in the United States, she also helps employers obtain professional visas, and petitions for family members. She also handles many complex naturalization issues. Ms. Beach has unique expertise representing clients in immigration matters pending before the Federal District Courts, Circuit Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals and Immigration Courts. She has won over 400 humanitarian cases in the United States. Her firm's website is www.boilapc.com.