State officials in Alabama have agreed to throw out major provisions of that state’s unjust immigration law. The agreement, which was announced Tuesday and awaits a federal judge’s approval, resolves lawsuits brought by civil-rights groups, churches and the Justice Department against the statute, H.B. 56, the most extreme attempt by any state to harass and expel immigrants.
Under the proposed settlement, the state acknowledges, among other things, that requiring public schools to determine students’ immigration status violates equal protection and that criminalizing efforts by day laborers to look for work violates the First Amendment. It further states that making it a crime for immigrants to fail to carry their papers, making it illegal for anyone to “conceal, harbor or shield” unauthorized immigrants, and invalidating any contracts that these immigrants sign are all unlawful intrusions into federal authority over immigration.
The settlement also includes an important check on racial profiling: an acknowledgment that state and local police cannot detain anyone merely on suspicion of being in the country illegally.
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