ATLANTA, GA (CNN) - A federal appeals court has blocked enforcement of parts of a controversial immigration enforcement law in Alabama.
The injunction issued Friday from the 11th Circuit U-S Court of Appeals in Atlanta came after the U-S Justice Department-- supported by a coalition of immigrant rights groups-- requested the legislation known as HB 56 be put on hold until the larger constitutional questions can be addressed, a process that could take some months at least.
The Obama administration says the Constitution does not permit states to deter illegal immigration, saying an issue with foreign policy implications is the exclusive mandate of the federal government.
Alabama's law passed by the legislature this summer would allow officials to check the immigration status of public school students; to detain suspected illegal aliens without bond; and make it a crime for illegal residents who lack proper immigration documents, or to conduct business with the state for things like driver's licenses.
The case is U.S. v. Alabama (11-14532).