A federal judge in Alabama has blocked another provision of that state’s unconstitutional anti-immigrant law. This one would prohibit local and state agencies from transacting business, such as the collection of property taxes, with undocumented immigrants. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s legal director Mary Bauer has dubbed the ruling “a nail in the coffin” of H.B.56.
U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson also asserted that the entire law is likely “discriminatorily based.”
The judge went on to rule that the statute, which he wrote would have adversely affected the children of the plaintiffs, departed from an established tradition in Alabama of assisting children regardless of their parents’ actions.
“Moreover, that HB 56′s treatment of children in mixed-status families, who are overwhelmingly Latino, is so markedly different from the state’s historical treatment of children in general suggests strongly that the difference in treatment was driven by animus against Latinos in general and thus that the statute was discriminatorily based,” Thompson wrote.
The judge also quoted several supporters of the law — including Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, and Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Albertville — as using the terms “illegal immigrant” and “Hispanic” interchangeably.
Thompson also quoted Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, saying he saw 30 “illegals” getting out of a car “in Hoover or Homewood.”
Hammon, the sponsor of HB 56, and Rich both voted for the bill; Rogers voted against it, saying he wanted to see “punishment” for those who hired undocumented immigrants.
The judge wrote the court could not “conclusively” say “discriminatory bias against Hispanics was behind HB 56,” but said the “evidence of such” was substantial enough to put the law on hold.