WaPo: Arizona’s bad immigration law takes effect

From the Editorial Board on 9/21/12:

AFTER A TWO-YEAR struggle, a federal judge this week authorized Arizona law enforcement agencies to require officers to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. Wearing the wrong clothes, speaking with the wrong accent or having the wrong skin color could land you in hot water in Arizona.

The state’s “show me your papers” provision — one of the most bitterly contested parts of the obnoxious immigration law enacted in 2010 — is the second such measure to receive a green light from federal courts. The first was from Alabama, where a similar policy was implemented about a year ago.  Read more »

NYT Opinion: Migrants’ Freedom Ride

Published July 28, 2012:

On Sunday night or early Monday, about three dozen people are planning to set out on a six-week bus voyage through the dark terrain of American immigration politics. Their journey is to begin, fittingly, in the desert in Arizona, national capital of anti-immigrant laws and oppressive policing. It will wind through other states where laws and failed policies force immigrants to toil outside the law — New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee — and end in North Carolina at the Democratic National Convention.

There the riders plan to deliver a defiant message to a president who is hoping to return to office on a wave of Latino support that they believe he has not earned.

There is something very different about this particular protest. Many of those planning to ride the bus are undocumented and — for the first time — are not afraid to say so. Immigrants who dread arrest and deportation usually seek anonymity. These riders, weary of life in the shadows and frustrated by the lack of progress toward reform, will be telling federal authorities and the local police: Here are our names. This is our plan. If you want us, come get us.

Read more »

Bloomberg: Texas GOP Shift May Show Way Out of Immigration Stalement

Reported June 28, 2012:

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson rose nervously to urge Republicans at the state party’s convention to support a national guest-worker program for millions of undocumented residents.

Two years earlier, the party that dominates the second-most populous state had called for a crackdown on illegal immigrants.

“‘Well, here’s the end of a political career,’” Patterson said, recalling his thought as he looked over the June 8 gathering in the Fort Worth Convention Center. Instead, the delegates passed the platform with the guest-worker plan.

In Texas, the state with the second-largest illegal- immigrant population, Republicans have softened their stance toward them. The vote reflected a more pragmatic view of years past, such as when Governor Rick Perry signed a first-in-the- nation 2001 law that gave undocumented residents in-state tuition rates at public colleges. It preceded a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week that voided most of an Arizona law cracking down on people in the country illegally.

“I’m no bleeding heart; I oppose birthright citizenship,” said Patterson, 65, whose elected office controls state lands and mineral rights. “But we need the labor.”

Read more »

WNYC: Solidarity Between Immigrants, Civil Rights Marchers After Ala. HB 56 Ruling

On March 9, 2012, Sarah Kate Kramer writes:

Immigrants in Alabama are pushing back against the controversial immigration law HB 56, and it’s working.

In the same week as thousands of Latinos are marching with African American leaders to commemorate the bloody civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery that took place 47 years ago, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked two more sections of HB 56 on Thursday.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined Sections 27 and 30 of the state law until legal challenges brought by the federal government and a coalition of church and civil rights groups are resolved.

The state legislature passed HB 56, a law targeting undocumented immigrants in June 2011, and it immediately gained notoriety as the toughest immigration law in the country. In September, Federal Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn issued preliminary injunctions against a few provisions of the law, including one prohibiting undocumented immigrants from attending public universities, another that outlawed harboring or transporting undocumented immigrants and a third that outlawed stopping for day laborers if a motor vehicle blocked traffic. But Judge Blackburn left intact two of the most controversial elements of the law. Read more …

CBS News: Court blocks parts of Ala. immigration law

March 8, 2012:

ATLANTA – A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked two more sections of Alabama’s tough new law targeting illegal immigration pending the outcome of lawsuits that seek to overturn the law entirely.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order temporarily halting 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.

The law adopted last year was challenged by both the federal government and a coalition of activist groups. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit heard arguments last week but said it won’t rule on the overall case until the U.S. Supreme Court decides a federal challenge to a similar law in Arizona. The appeals court is also weighing Georgia’s law.

Lawyers in the Alabama case had asked the court to at least temporarily stop the two sections and others, claiming they were causing harm to people in the state.

“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 panel last week. “This is a great day for the residents of our state.”

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said he strongly disagrees with the court’s decision.  Read more …