While comprehensive immigration reform remains stalled at the federal level, individual states continue to implement measures relating to immigration.

Most recently, on October 14, 2011, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked two of the most controversial provisions of Alabama’s sweeping immigration law, the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act (HB 56), from remaining in effect while it considers the merits of an appeal against the ruling of a federal district court upholding key provisions of the law. The law went into effect on September 29, 2011, after the expiration of a temporary injunction imposed by the federal district court against some important sections of the law, based on a finding that these sections are likely preempted by federal law. The federal government seeks to permanently enjoin enforcement of the Alabama law on the basis that it unconstitutionally infringes on the federal government’s exclusive authority over immigration. 

The two provisions that that were enjoined are:

  • The section creating a criminal violation if a person illegally present in the country fails to carry federal immigration papers (an alien registration document); and
  • The section requiring public schools to check the immigration status of students at the time of enrollment.

The court allowed the following two provisions to remain in effect while the legal challenge continues:

  • The section that requires law enforcement officials to stop, detain, or arrest anyone if "a reasonable suspicion" exists that the person is in the country illegally; and
  • The section that makes it a felony for an illegal immigrant to enter into a “business transaction” (defined as applying for or renewing a license plate, driver’s license, ID card, or business license) with the State of Alabama or any of its political subdivisions.