Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 12:55 PM Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 3:30 PM
By Lee Roop, The Huntsville Times
Ben Flanagan, al.com
UA students protest the Alabama house bill 56 in the Ferguson Center Promenade on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011.
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- In the latest ruling, a Birmingham federal judge this afternoon again upheld most sections of Alabama's tough new immigration law.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn this afternoon ruled on a lawsuit filed by a coalition civil rights groups and individuals seeking to block the law.
Blackburn did block the state from barring illegal immigrants from enrolling in public universities.
In the lawsuit filed by the Hispanic Interest Coaltion of Alabama and others, Blackburn also stopped the state from enforcing two new traffic laws, which would have set up $500 fines for blocking traffic to hire workers on a street.
But she let most other sections of the 72-page law take effect.
Earlier today, in her ruling on the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Blackburn refused to block a provision of the state law related to police stops and detentions of people suspected of being in the country illegally.
[Also see: UA students protest Alabama immigration law]
Similar laws in Arizona and Georgia had been blocked by other federal judges, but in her 115-page order, Blackburn disagreed with those rulings. She determined Congress has not prevented states from playing a role in immigration enforcement.
She also declined to block sections requiring schools to check the citizenship status of children and sections that would nullify contracts knowingly entered into with unauthorized aliens.
Blackburn refused to block a section making it a felony for "an alien not lawfully present in the United States" to apply for a license plate, driver's license, business license or other business license.
Blackburn agreed with the Department of Justice on just four portions of its legal challenge. Blackburn ruled the state:
» Can't stop an "unauthorized alien" from seeking work as an employee or independent contractor.
» Can't prosecute those who assist unauthorized aliens. She blocked a large section that would make it against the law to conceal, harbor, transport or encourage an illegal alien to stay in Alabama. This includes portions of the law referring to landlords.
» Can't stop businesses from deducting the wages they pay to unauthorized aliens from their state taxes.
» Can't create a new protected class of workers. The new law would have allowed workers who were fired or not hired in favor of unauthorized aliens to sue employers for discrimination.