by Nicole Flatow
Lower-court challenges to state anti-immigrant laws are continuing to make their way through the courts, even as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a challenge to Arizona’s law, SB 1070.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked another portion of the Arizona law that prohibits those seeking or offering day labor services from blocking traffic.
In granting a preliminary injunction, Bolton said the plaintiffs were likely to prevail in their claim that the provision violates the First Amendment, because the law appears to limit particular speech, rather than regulating traffic generally.
"The adoption of a content-based ban on speech indicates that the Legislature did not draft these provisions after careful evaluation of the burden on free speech," Bolton wrote.
On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit heard oral arguments in challenges to two other anti-immigration laws in Alabama and Georgia, and announced that it would not decide the case until after the Supreme Court issues its decision.
Discussing the Alabama law, which The New York Times called “the country’s cruelest, most unforgiving immigration law,” Judge Beverly Martin questioned whether the requirement that school officials determine the immigration status of students interferes with students’ constitutional right to a public education.
The duty of public schools to educate children regardless of legal status was established by the Supreme Court 30 years ago in Plyler v. Doe.
Considering the Georgia law, Judge Charles Wilson expressed concern over the burden imposed on the federal government by a provision that would authorize local officials to investigate the immigration status of “suspects” and to detain them, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
“I wonder what the increased burden would be on the Department of Homeland Security to respond to all these data-gathering requests.” he said. “You would have to create an entirely new bureaucracy, wouldn’t you, just to respond to these requests?”
During a recent American Constitution Society immigration symposium in Atlanta, Judge U.W. Clemon (pictured), the former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, called the movement to pass these new state laws “just another manifestation of the hatred and disdain on the part of white republican state legislators for people who don’t look or sound like them.” He continued: