Court bars much of Georgia and Alabama anti-immigrant laws


The federal appeals court in Atlanta, on Aug. 20, blocked key parts of Alabama and Georgia's anti-immigrant laws.

Perhaps most importantly, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit found that the section of Alabama's law, which requires the immigration verification of newly enrolled K-12 students, interferes with children's constitutional right to education.

The court also struck down the Alabama provisions that would have criminalized the failure to carry immigration documents and invalidated contracts with undocumented immigrants.

In both states the court also ruled that states could not criminalize the transporting or harboring of certain immigrants.

A jubilant Omar Jadwat, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project, said, "The court rejected many parts of Alabama and Georgia's anti-immigrant laws, including attempts to criminalize everyday interactions with undocumented immigrants and Alabama's callous attempts to deprive some children of their constitutional right to education.

"The court explicitly left the door open," he added, "to further challenges against the 'show me your papers' provision, which we will continue to fight in order to protect people's constitutional rights."

In addition to the national ACLU, the groups that challenged the law included the ACLU of Georgia, the ACLU of Alabama, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Immigration Law Center, the Asian Law Caucus, the Asian American Justice Center and LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

Photo: At a July 2, 2011, march through downtown Atlanta in protest against Georgia's immigration law. Erik S. Lesser/AP