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Alabama's immigration law remains as is for now

Earlier this year, Alabama was one of several states to adopt a stricter immigration law. Among other things, the law makes it possible for law enforcement to look into the immigration status of anyone who has been pulled over or is being arrested. Anyone who is in the United States legally must carry proof of it constantly.

Since Alabama's immigration law was put into place, many observers have been watching and waiting to see how it would play out. Shortly after the passage of the law, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block it, along with similar laws passed in South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Utah and Arizona.

In its lawsuit the Justice Department asserts that enforcement of immigration is not a state's responsibility. Instead, it is left to the federal government. Earlier this week a federal appeals court heard oral arguments in the case. After that however, it essentially put the case on hold.

There is of course a reason the court hit the pause button. It is waiting to see how the Supreme Court rules on Arizona's law, upon which the other states based their later laws. Oral arguments are scheduled in that case for the end of April and a decision is expected sometime before the end of the term. The Supreme Court's decision will serve as a precedent for other courts hearing similar cases.

Individuals on both sides of the issue will likely be watching and waiting. In addition to the throngs of illegal immigrants who fled the state of Alabama upon the passage of the law, farmers and processors of food have been negatively impacted. This is because based on their immigration status, many workers have quit, lowering the businesses' productivity. According to a study conducted by the University of Alabama, the law could ultimately cost the state close to $11 billion a year in lost sales tax revenue.

For the time being, all will have to continue on as they have been. We will post updates on the topic as they become available.

Source: NPR, "Nation's Toughest Immigration Law Stays Put For Now," Corey Dade, March 1, 2012

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