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Border & Immigration

No SCOTUS Review For Alabama Immigration Law

No SCOTUS Review For Alabama Law
A section of Alabama's immigration law that criminalizes harboring and transporting unauthorized immigrants is on hold, and the high court wont intervene. A similar Arizona law is under review by a federal appeals court.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not review a provision of Alabama's immigration enforcement law that makes it a crime to harbor and transport an unauthorized immigrant.

Alabama was trying to appeal a decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that put the provision on hold.

The Court of Appeals ruled last year that the law couldn't take effect because it preempts federal law.


The Eleventh Circuit relied on the Supreme Court's opinion from last summer that invalidated three sections of Arizona's immigration enforcement law, SB 1070, on the same preemption argument.

"If the Supreme Court had granted this case it would have really sent shockwaves through the community of people interested in immigration laws," said Paul Bender, who is a law professor at Arizona State University School of Law. "Because it would have suggested they were rethinking their decision in the Arizona case."

Bender said these events don't bode well for a similar Arizona harboring and transporting provision that is before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

"If I were representing the state I would not think this was a good occurrence that cert was denied," Bender said. "I'm sure they were hoping the Supreme Court would take this case and they would get a chance to revisit some of these issues in a slightly different context."

Bender says the lesson to states is that immigration enforcement is the domain of the federal government.