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Federal Court Preliminarily Enjoins Enforcement of Alabama Anti-Immigrant Law

Today Judge Myron Thompson issued a preliminary injunction blocking the application of a provision of Alabama's anti-immigrant law that threatened to push immigrant families out of their homes. The preliminary injunction enjoins the enforcement of a provision in the Alabama law, commonly known as HB 56, that criminalizes "business transactions" between state officials and people who cannot prove U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status. In conjunction with the state's mobile home registration law, the enforcement of the business transactions prohibition would have left undocumented immigrants in an impossible position: attempt to renew the mobile home tags they need and risk being charged with a felony under HB 56, or refrain from renewing their tags and be subjected to fines and criminal misdemeanor charges.

In a 108-page opinion, Judge Thompson held that the plaintiffs are substantially likely to prevail on their claims that the challenged enforcement of the business transactions prohibition as applied to individuals seeking to renew their mobile home registrations intentionally discriminates against and has an unlawful disparate impact on Latinos, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Judge Thompson further held that the plaintiffs demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on their preemption claims and that they would suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction.

Relman, Dane & Colfax is representing the plaintiffs in the suit, in conjunction with lawyers from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Immigration Law Center, the ACLU Immigrants Rights Project, and Latino Justice.