A federal appeals court on Thursday temporarily blocked two sections of Alabama's tough new law targeting illegal immigration pending the outcome of legal challenges.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order blocking a section that says courts can't enforce contracts involving illegal immigrants and another that makes it a felony for an illegal immigrant to do business with the state.
Alabama's law was challenged last year by both the federal government and a coalition of activist groups, and the cases have been appealed to the 11th Circuit. A three-judge panel in that court heard arguments in the case last week but said it won't rule on the challenges to Alabama's law and another in Georgia until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a federal challenge to a similar law in Arizona.
"We are very pleased that the Eleventh Circuit understood the harms these provisions were causing in Alabama, and saw fit to enjoin them," said the Southern Poverty Law Center's Sam Brooke, who argued before the 11th Circuit last week. "This is a great day for the residents of our state."
Opponents of the measures argue such laws lead to discrimination and racial profiling and that immigration is a federal issue that shouldn't be governed by a patchwork of state laws. Supporters say states have been forced to act to protect their resources because the federal government hasn't done enough to quell the influx of illegal immigrants.