Reporting from Atlanta — The Justice Department filed a challenge to Alabama's tough anti-illegal-immigration law Monday, arguing that the Constitution prohibits state and local governments from creating a national "patchwork" of immigration policies.
The suit, filed in Alabama's Northern District, marks the second time the Obama administration has sought to block a state immigration reform law. Last year, the Justice Department filed a similar challenge to Arizona's controversial SB 1070. A federal judge decided to temporarily block key parts of that law, including a provision that would have required police to determine suspects' immigration status.
A number of states, including Georgia, South Carolina, Utah and Indiana, have embraced similar laws. Alabama's law, signed in June by Gov. Robert J. Bentley, is by far the strictest.
The law requires police to attempt to determine the residency status of suspected illegal immigrants. It also it makes it a crime for immigrants to work or solicit work, and prohibits landlords from renting to them. Among other things, it would prevent illegals from receiving state or local public benefits and bar them from enrolling in public colleges.