Federal Appeals Court to Hear Request to Block Alabama’s Disastrous Immigration Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org Atlanta, GA – A coalition of civil rights groups will ask the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit today to block enforcement of HB56, the harshest state immigration law in the country. The Alabama case, HICA v. Bentley, is being heard today along with the legal challenge to Georgia’s anti-immigrant law. These are the first two such cases to reach the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. “We urge the Appeals Court to do the right thing and rule to block the law,” said Olivia Turner, Steering Committee member of the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ) and Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama, one of the lead groups arguing today before the three-judge panel. “ACIJ and Alabamians from all walks of life and all backgrounds have also called on our legislators and the Governor to repeal HB56,” added Turner. “HB56 has harmed our economy, threatens to interfere with our churches and has set back our state’s progress toward being a more racially tolerant state. We call on our justice system and our legislators to take the action necessary to prevent the damage from becoming permanent.” HB56 makes it a crime for churches, charities and even neighbors to offer help to anyone who is not a legal resident. Many of Alabama’s religious leaders say the law makes it illegal for churches to offer food or shelter, preventing those of faith from being Good Samaritans. HB56 has also left crops rotting in the fields. It has been a disaster for Alabama agriculture and family farms. The law has driven workers – even many legal workers – out of state with the result that crops have rotted in the field because farmers can’t find new workers. The “show me your papers” provisions of HB56 have also led to a humanitarian and civil rights crisis in Alabama, separating families and making parents afraid to send their children to school. The Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice is a network of individuals and organizations which seek to provide a united voice dedicated to ensuring the social, legal and civic rights of all immigrants in Alabama. ACIJ’s members work to promote justice for all of Alabama’s immigrants. Please visit www.acij.net