A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of Alabama’s new law cracking down on illegal immigration, ruling Monday that she needed more time to decide whether the law opposed by the Obama administration, church leaders and immigrant-rights groups is constitutional.
This means the law won’t take effect as scheduled on Thursday. The brief order did not go into whether the law is constitutional, and the judge could still let all or parts of the law take effect later. A longer ruling will be issued by Sept. 28 after the judge has had more time to consider lawsuits filed by the Justice Department, private groups and individuals that claim the state is overstepping its bounds with the law.
The law includes provisions requiring police to verify the status of people stopped whom they suspect may be in the country illegally. The law also makes it a crime to knowingly rent housing to unlawful immigrants. It would require schools to verify the citizenship status of students. Officials say it wouldn’t prevent illegal immigrants from attending public schools. Both supporters and opponents say Alabama’s law is the nation’s toughest against illegal immigration.