State Sen. Scott Beason stands outside the federal courthouse following an all-day hearing over efforts to persuade a federal judge to block Alabama's immigration law in Birmingham, Ala., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011. Lawyers for the federal government and for a coalition of civil rights groups asked a federal judge Wednesday to block a new Alabama law cracking down on illegal immigration, arguing that it stomps on such basic rights as free speech and free travel. But attorneys for the state argued the new law allows the state to regulate illegal immigration in the absence of action from the federal government and that many opponents have overreacted about the law's expected impact. Beason is one of the authors of the immigration legislation. (AP Photo/ The Birmingham News, Mark Almond)Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A federal judge in Birmingham has temporarily blocked enforcement of Alabama's new law cracking down on illegal immigration.
U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Blackburn's order issued Monday means the law won't take effect as scheduled on Thursday.
Blackburn didn't address whether the law is constitutional. Instead, she says she needs more time to consider lawsuits filed by the Justice Department, private groups and individuals that claim the state is overstepping its bounds with the law.
The judge says she will issue a longer ruling by Sept. 28.
Both supporters and opponents say Alabama's law is the nation's toughest against illegal immigration. Among other things, it would require schools to verify the citizenship status of students. Officials say it wouldn't prevent illegal immigrants from attending public schools