Judge Upholds Key Parts of Alabama’s HB 56 Immigration Law
September 29, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — In a striking blow to immigration activists, a U.S. federal judge Wednesday upheld key parts of a controversial Alabama law aimed at stemming the flow of undocumented immigrants into the state. Rejecting the federal government’s request to block certain provisions and, in theory, paving the way for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of state’s passing their own immigration laws, U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn in the Northern District of Alabama upheld the provision requiring police “to make a reasonable attempt” in determining the immigration status of a person they stop. Judge Blackburn’s ruling also upholds the requirement that public schools determine if students were born outside the U.S. or are children of undocumented immigrants. However, Blackburn did enjoin other sections of the law, including blocking a clause that made it a misdemeanor crime for an undocumented immigrant to apply for work. Widely regarded as the nation’s strictest immigration legislation to date, Wednesday’s ruling on the Alabama law could encourage other states to push for their own tough, immigration bills. The Obama administration, however, argues that immigration enforcement is a federal issue and federal courts have so far blocked laws in Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia in recent months.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexico’s Supreme Court upheld a provision of Baja California’s state constitution that says life begins at conception, scoring a victory for pro-life advocates in the country.
- Mexico City received Wednesday its first batch of all-electric taxi cabs, as part of agreement between the city and the car maker Nissan to promote the use of environmentally friendly vehicles.
- U.S. immigration officials said Wednesday that they arrested 2,901 criminal immigrants in the last week.
- The United States and Cuba have both said in the last week that they are interested in improving relations, but obstacles remain.
- Haitian President Michel Martelly’s plan to revive the country’s disbanded military has run into opposition, partly over the issue of how the force would be financed, with Haiti’s government still dependent on international donors.
- Jamaica’s Finance Minister Audley Shaw said Greece should follow his country’s example by restructuring the national debt as a first step toward solving its economic crisis.
- A German man killed his wife, young daughter and three pets before hanging himself in a wealthy neighborhood in the Dominican Republic, police said Wednesday.
- A mayor in the troubled, north-central Guatemalan state of Alta Verapaz was murdered late Monday night by unidentified gunmen.
- Honduras’ Democratic Unification Party plans to form an alliance with the country’s Popular Resistance Party (PRP) once the PRP registers to become a an official political party.
- The United Nations said that rural poor in Nicaragua will benefit from projects aimed at building small businesses and enhancing productivity.
- Bolivian Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti became the third senior government official to resign on Tuesday after Sunday’s crackdown on demonstrators protesting the construction of a major highway through the rainforest on indigenous land.
- The Twitter accounts of at least nine prominent critics of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez have been targeted by a group of hackers who call themselves “N33”.
- A British inquest into a plane crash in Peru last October that killed six, including four British passengers, show that the senior pilot had higher-than legal amounts of alcohol in his blood.
- Chilean students involved in more than 4 months of protests agreed on Tuesday to sit down to talks with the government over education reforms, though protests will continue.
- A sixty-year feud by three families in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Norte state has resulted in the deaths of at least 95 people, according to authorities.
- Investigators searched the offices of Argentina’s popular River Plate soccer club on Tuesday along with the offices of the Argentine Football Association, following a federal suit against the club for fraud and money laundering.
Image: Ken Blackwell @ Flickr.