A federal court yesterday upheld the core of Alabama’s immigration law, the parts regarding arrest protocols, but struck down other parts, in line with the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Arizona’s S.B. 1070. The interesting difference is that the court also ruled against a unique provision in the Alabama law that required schools to ascertain the legal status of students upon enrollment. The court ruled “that provision imposes a substantial burden on the right of undocumented school children to receive an education” as required by the Supreme Court in Plyler v. Doe. (Read the ruling here; the school requirement is Section 28 of the law.) I’m ambivalent; Alabama has every right to do this, but school is not the place I’d want to enforce immigration law. As the Supreme Court noted in Plyler, “charging tuition to undocumented children constitutes a ludicrously ineffectual attempt to stem the tide of illegal immigration, at least when compared with the alternative of prohibiting the employment of illegal aliens”, though that’s a policy question beyond the competence of a court.
Meanwhile, last week Arizona and Nebraska announced they would not recognize documents resulting from the president’s illegal executive-order DREAM scheme for the purposes of issuing driver’s licenses and welfare benefits. Virginia already has a policy of not issuing licenses based only on an Employment Authorization Document (the work card which the DREAM Scheme illegal aliens will receive) as a result of the 2010 death of a nun in an accident caused by a drunk illegal alien who had obtained a license with an EAD (though the DMV commissioner recently wrote to the ACLU that the “deferred action” DREAM Scheme illegals would indeed get licenses). The REAL ID Act lists as “evidence of legal status” the “deferred action” status Obama is handing out to illegal aliens, but it doesn’t seem to require issuance to people with that status. So it will be interesting to see if Holder tries to sue Arizona yet again, this time to force them to give licenses to illegal aliens, though Steve Dinan of the Washington Times reported this about the decision to issue licenses to the DREAM illegals:
“Those are state questions,” said an official whom the administration made available to brief reporters on the condition that he not be named. “I’d have to point you to agencies that are responsible for issues like those.”
Finally, a photo of illegal aliens “in the shadows” from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights field hearing in Birmingham at which I testified last week:
Where are the shadows?