Alabama's controversial immigration law (HB 56) will not take effect as planned on September 1, 2011. On August 29, 2011, a federal court in Alabama issued an order temporarily delaying the effective date of Alabama's new immigration law for up to 30 days. The law has been challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as the leaders of three religious organizations, on the basis that its broad-sweeping requirements may not be constitutional. While the court's order explained that it needed additional time to consider the constitutionality of the law, it also specified that the court-ordered delay was not to be interpreted as a reflection on the merits of the law. The court will issue a definitive ruling on the constitutionality of the law no later than September 28, 2011, and the law will not take effect until the court issues its final ruling.

Alabama's immigration law, which is largely considered one of the most comprehensive in the nation, would require Alabama employers to use the federal E-Verify program to determine whether applicants are eligible for hire, beginning January 1, 2012 for employers doing business with the state, and April 1, 2012 for other Alabama employers. We expect that the court may uphold the law's requirement that employers use E-Verify, so we encourage our clients who are covered by the Act to make appropriate preparations to comply with that portion of the Act.