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Alabama Agrees To Permanently Gut Immigration Law

Opponents of Alabama's strict immigration law are declaring victory Tuesday, as the state agreed not to pursue key provisions of a measure critics had called an endorsement of racial profiling. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal of a federal court's ruling that gutted the law.

Widely considered the toughest immigration law in the U.S. when it took effect in 2011, the measure known as HB 56 was challenged soon after it was approved. Its opponents included the U.S. Justice Department, a coalition of civil rights groups, and religious groups. Critics often called it the "show me your papers" law.

The suit's challengers included the Southern Poverty Law Center. Today, it listed provisions in the law that are now permanently blocked:

  • Requiring schools to verify the immigration status of newly enrolled K-12 students.
  • Criminalizing the solicitation of work by unauthorized immigrants.
  • A provision that made it a crime to provide a ride to undocumented immigrants or to rent to them.
  • A provision that infringed on the ability of individuals to contract with someone who was undocumented.
  • A provision that criminalized failing to register one's immigration status.

This past spring, Supreme Court justices voted 8-1 to let a lower court ruling stand that blocked essential parts of the law, "after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said immigration law is primarily the responsibility of the federal government," as The Two-Way reported.

"I am thankful that most of the law has been permanently blocked and that tranquility has been restored to the Hispanic community," lawsuit plaintiff Maria D. Ceja Zamora said, in a release from the National Immigration Law Center.

As part of the settlement, Alabama will reportedly pay some $350,000 to cover the opposing coalition's legal costs. Final resolution of the case is pending a court review.

We thank NPR's Southern Bureau Chief Russell Lewis for alerting us to the story.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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