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Justice Dept. Sets Sights On Alabama's Immigration Law Again

One week after a federal judge refused to block key sections of Alabama's new immigration law, the U.S. Department of Justice is asking a federal appeals court to halt the state's law, saying that it goes against federal powers over immigration.

Seen as the nation's toughest restriction on illegal immigration, the law requires public schools to confirm students' legal residency, and makes it illegal to transport or rent property to undocumented immigrants, as NPR reported in June.

Writing in The Huntsville Times, Brian Lawson quotes several passages from the 28-page Justice filing, which argues that Alabama's law is "inducing many parents to keep their children home from school due to fear about the State's immigration policy."

In its court filing, the Justice Department states that "neither the Constitution nor the federal immigration laws permit a state scheme avowedly designed to drive aliens out of the State — a program of de facto removal and a blunt instrument" that is likely to disrupt the immigration policies of both the U.S. government and Alabama's neighboring states.

For NPR's Newscast unit, Kath Lohr reports that "the Justice Department says the state's attempt to drive off illegal immigrants invites discrimination, and that it could negatively affect diplomatic relations with foreign countries. But Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he expected the challenge, and is determined to uphold the law."

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