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Bentley Asks Full 11th Circuit to Reconsider HB56 Opinion

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Monday Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced that the State was filing petitions to ask the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider parts of two opinions issued August 20 regarding Alabama’s immigration law.  Gov. Bentley’s press release said that the original opinions correctly upheld several parts of the law, but the Governor believes that the three-judge panel’s decision to strike down three of the provisions, (the harboring, contracts, and school data provisions) was not Constitutional.

Governor Bentley said, “We are filing this based on principle.  As the Governor of Alabama, I have a duty to uphold and defend Alabama law.  Federal courts should not restrain state governments in a way that is contrary to the U.S. Constitution.”

Gov. Bentley continued, “We must protect the State of Alabama from the federal government interfering with our ability to enforce our laws.  We owe it to the people of this state to defend the U.S. Constitution and the right of our legislature to make constitutional policy choices.”

The Alabama legislature passed the strictest anti-illegal immigration bill in the nation in 2011 after years of lax and frequently nonexistent enforcement of America’s immigration laws.  HB 56 was controversial from the very start and the state was sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center, several Churches, the Obama Justice Department, the ACLU, and numerous other parties to prevent its full implementation.  Much of the law was negated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June which limited what states can really do about illegal immigration.

Mary Bauer, the Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a written statement, “Today, the State of Alabama continued to attempt to defend its illegal and immoral anti-immigrant law by asking the entire Eleventh Circuit to consider reinstating the provision of H.B. 56 requiring schools to interrogate students about their immigration status. The Eleventh Circuit Panel’s decision on August 20, 2012, that Section 28 violates the equal protection clause by deterring enrollment in schools, was clearly the correct ruling, and we are sure that the decision will stand. We are disappointed that the State is continuing to stand behind this unjust and hateful law, which has brought so much shame and ridicule upon the state.”

An estimated eleven million people live in the United States without legal residency in this country.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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