ACLU To File Lawsuit Challenging Alabama’s New Anti-Immigrant Law

June 9, 2011

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Alabama said today that they will file, in coalition with other civil rights groups, a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Alabama's draconian anti-immigrant law before it goes into effect Sept. 1. HB 56, even more restrictive than Arizona's SB1070 which it was inspired by, was signed into law this morning by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. 

The law’s key provisions sanction discriminatory and unconstitutional practices by police officers, landlords and employers by inviting racial profiling of Latinos and others based on how they look or talk, violating the First Amendment and interfering with federal law. Under the extreme law, Alabama public schools will require children to provide proof of citizenship when enrolling in kindergarten and grade school and require police to demand “papers” from people they stop whom they suspect are not authorized to be in the U.S.

The following can be attributed to:

Olivia Turner, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama

"By signing this bill into law, Gov. Bentley is willing to sacrifice the civil liberties of all Alabamans, eroding the rights of millions of people living and working in this state. This law undermines core American values of fairness and equality, subjecting both citizens and non-citizens alike to unlawful racial profiling, and does nothing to ensure the safety and economic security of Alabama.”  

Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project

“This law is an outrageous throw-back to the pre-Civil Rights era, going beyond the discriminatory and unconstitutional police practices that we’ve seen in other states. It blocks the schoolhouse doors to children, will result in people being turned away when they try to rent a home, and places burdens on people of color at the voting booth. By signing this bill into law, Gov. Bentley has codified official discrimination in the State of Alabama. We will take action to keep this law from going into effect to ensure that the civil rights and liberties of all Alabamans are protected.”  

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