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Civil Rights Groups Challenge Alabama's Strict New Immigration Law

Civil Rights Groups Challenge Alabama's Strict New Immigration Law

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Published by FindLaw
A coalition of civil rights organizations has challenged Alabama's new immigration law, alleging that the law violates the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs claim that the law, which makes it a crime to be in Alabama without proper immigration documentation, will result in racial profiling, illegal search and seizures and will deter the children of immigration families from attending public schools.
A coalition of civil rights organizations has challenged Alabama's new immigration law, alleging that the law violates the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs claim that the law, which makes it a crime to be in Alabama without proper immigration documentation, will result in racial profiling, illegal search and seizures and will deter the children of immigration families from attending public schools.

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Published by: FindLaw on Jul 08, 2011
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08/15/2011

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMANORTHEASTERN DIVISION
HISPANIC INTEREST COALITION OFALABAMA; AIDS ACTION COALITION;HUNTSVILLE INTERNATIONAL HELPCENTER; INTERPRETERS ANDTRANSLATORS ASSOCIATION OF ALABAMA;ALABAMA APPLESEED CENTER FOR LAW &JUSTICE, INC.; SERVICE EMPLOYEESINTERNATIONAL UNION; SOUTHERNREGIONAL JOINT BOARD OF WORKERSUNITED; UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIALWORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION; UNITEDFOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS UNIONLOCAL 1657; DREAMACTIVIST.ORG;GREATER BIRMINGHAM MINISTRIES; BOATPEOPLE SOS; MATT WEBSTER; MARIA D.CEJA ZAMORA; PAMELA LONG; JUANPABLO BLACK ROMERO; CHRISTOPHERBARTON THAU; ELLIN JIMMERSON; ROBERTBARBER; DANIEL UPTON; JEFFREY ALLENBECK; MICHELLE CUMMINGS; ESAYASHAILE; FISEHA TESFAMARIAM; JANE DOE#1; JANE DOE #2; JANE DOE #3; JANE DOE #4;JANE DOE #5; JANE DOE #6; JOHN DOE #1, aminor, by his legal guardian MATT WEBSTER;JOHN DOE #2; JOHN DOE #3; JOHN DOE #4;JOHN DOE #5; and JOHN DOE #6,Plaintiffs,v.ROBERT BENTLEY, in his official capacity asGovernor of the State of Alabama; LUTHERSTRANGE, in his official capacity as AttorneyGeneral of the State of Alabama; JOSEPH B.Civil Action File No._____________________
COMPLAINTFOR DECLARATORYAND INJUNCTIVERELIEFCLASS ACTION
FILED
2011 Jul-08 PM 01:17U.S. DISTRICT COURTN.D. OF ALABAMA
Case 5:11-cv-02484-SLB Document 1 Filed 07/08/11 Page 1 of 118
 
2MORTON, in his official capacity as StateSuperintendent of Education; FREIDA HILL, in herofficial capacity as Chancellor of PostsecondaryEducation; E. CASEY WARDYNSKI, in his officialcapacity as Superintendent of the Huntsville CitySchool System; JAMIE BLAIR, in his officialcapacity as Superintendent of the Vestavia Hills CitySchool System; RANDY FULLER, in his officialcapacity as Superintendent of the Shelby CountyPublic School System; CHARLES D. WARREN, inhis official capacity as Superintendent of the DeKalbCounty Public School System; BARBARA W.THOMPSON, in her official capacity asSuperintendent of the Montgomery County PublicSchool System; JEFFERY E. LANGHAM, in hisofficial capacity as Superintendent of the ElmoreCounty Public School System; and ROBERT L.BROUSSARD, in his official capacity as DistrictAttorney for Madison County,Defendants.
PRELIMINARY STATEMENT
 1.
 
This action challenges Alabama’s comprehensive immigration law,House Bill 56 (“HB 56”), on multiple constitutional grounds and seeks injunctiveand declaratory relief to prevent serious harm that Plaintiffs and countless fellowAlabamians will suffer if the law goes into effect. Governor Robert Bentley toutedHB 56 as “the strongest immigration bill in the country” and a co-sponsor of thebill boasted that it regulates “every aspect of a person’s life.” Indeed, HB 56 is astate immigration law of unprecedented reach—going well beyond recent stateimmigration laws in Arizona, Utah, Indiana, and Georgia, which themselves have
Case 5:11-cv-02484-SLB Document 1 Filed 07/08/11 Page 2 of 118
 
3been suspended in whole or in part by the federal courts. HB 56 is reminiscent of the worst aspects of Alabama’s history in its pervasive and systematic targeting of a class of persons through punitive state laws that seek to render every aspect of daily life more difficult and less equal.2.
 
Among other constitutional defects, HB 56 is preempted in its entiretybecause it encroaches on exclusively federal immigration authority and because itconflicts with federal law in multiple ways.3.
 
In addition, HB 56 will subject Alabamians—including countless U.S.citizens and non-citizens who have permission from the federal government toremain in the United States—to unlawful interrogations, searches, seizures, andarrests, and will result in racial profiling.
See
Secs. 12 & 18. This is because HB56 mandates law enforcement officers to investigate the immigration status of anyindividual they stop, detain, or arrest when they have “reasonable suspicion” thatthe individual lacks immigration status. Individuals who may be perceived as“foreign” by state or local law enforcement agents will be in constant jeopardy of harassment and unlawfully prolonged detention and arrest by state lawenforcement officers operating under HB 56’s new immigration enforcementmandates. And all Alabamians will be required to carry state-approved identitydocumentation in order to prevent lengthy investigations as to their status. Theseprovisions violate the Fourth Amendment.
Case 5:11-cv-02484-SLB Document 1 Filed 07/08/11 Page 3 of 118

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