Alabama’s tough new immigration law was temporarily put on hold by a federal judge on Monday.
Alabama’s toughest-in-the-nation crackdown had originally been set to take effect Sept. 1 but had come under fire from several groups that filed lawsuits against the measure. Last week, U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn heard motions to block the contentious legislation but did not issue a ruling.
According to the court order, the temporary hold was issued to give Blackburn additional time to address the challenges to the law. The hold will remain in effect until Sept. 29 at the latest, or until the court issues a ruling on the motions to block the law.
According to the temporary order, this move in no way addresses the merits of the motions or offers a reflection on a potential decision.
The order stated that Blackburn will issue detailed comments on the injunction motions no later than Sept. 28.
Multiple lawsuits — filed by the Obama administration, bishops from Alabama’s Catholic, United Methodist and Episcopal churches and civil-rights groups including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union — were consolidated for the motions seeking a preliminary injunction against the measure.
The law is considered even tougher and more restrictive than Arizona’s and has several key features to deter illegal immigration, including allowing police officers to arrest anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant during a routine traffic stop, making it a crime to transport or rent to an illegal immigrant and requiring schools to report the status of students.