Federal judge issues ruling on AL immigration law

BIRMINGHAM, AL (RNN) - A federal judge in Alabama issued a pair of rulings Wednesday on injunction requests against the state's controversial new immigration law.

In a ruling on a lawsuit filed by the Obama administration, U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn in Birmingham, AL, enjoined sections of the law that make it illegal for people to harbor or transport authorized aliens until a final ruling is made.

The ruling further enjoins a portion of the law that makes it a misdemeanor crime for an unauthorized alien to apply for or perform work.

Blackburn also enjoined several sections of the law regarding the prospective employers of these unauthorized aliens.  For example, a law forbidding employers from claiming wages of unauthorized aliens on their tax returns was enjoined.

[Judge Blackburn's Ruling #3] [Summary of Ruling #3]

At the same time, Blackburn upheld several of the law's most controversial tenets, including one which requires law enforcement to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of detainees.

One of the most contentious sections of the law, Section 28, requires every public elementary and secondary school in the state to determine if enrolling students were born outside of the U.S. or are the children of unlawfully present aliens.

"The court finds the United States has not submitted sufficient evidence that Section 28 conflicts with federally established foreign policy goals," Blackburn wrote in her opinion.

However, Blackburn has yet to issue a key third ruling on a lawsuit brought before the court by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Southern Poverty Law Center and other civil rights groups.

"We will not know whether certain provisions of the law are blocked until the court rules in the civil rights coalition case," said Olivia Turner, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama. "For example, among other things, the civil rights coalition challenged the provision that chills access to K-12 education on a constitutional ground not raised in the other cases."

As a result, Turner said the education provision could still be blocked Wednesday.

An additional lawsuit filed by the Rev. Henry Parsley, Jr., bishop of the Episcopal sChurch in the Diocese of Alabama, was rendered moot.

Copyright 2011 Raycom News Network. WSFA contributed to this report.