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Eleventh Circuit Strikes Down Provisions of Controversial State Immigration Laws
Sunday, September 9, 2012

On August 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit struck down several provisions of Alabama and Georgia’s controversial immigration statutes, HB 56 and HB 87, respectively.

Specifically, the court blocked four provisions of HB 56, including the requirement that public schools investigate students’ immigration status and a provision that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit work. The court found that the statute impermissibly interfered with children’s constitutional right to education and further ruled against the state’s measure to criminalize the failure to carry immigration documents and the transporting or harboring of undocumented immigrants. In addition, the provision invalidating contracts with undocumented immigrants was also rejected by the court.

The court also struck down Section 7, a key part of HB 87 which criminalized harboring or assisting undocumented immigrants, on the grounds that it undermined federal law by “present[ing] an obstacle to the execution of the federal statutory scheme and challeng[ing] federal supremacy in the realm of immigration.”

Notably, the court upheld several provisions of both laws, including the right of police officers to check the immigration status of individuals who are suspected of a crime. 

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