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Civil rights panel consider Ala immigration law

A divided U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is hearing testimony in Birmingham on state laws cracking down on illegal immigration in Alabama and other states.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach testified Friday that the laws aren't discriminatory and don't result in racial profiling. Kobach helped write the laws in Alabama and Arizona.

Protesters interrupted Kobach repeatedly until they were escorted out by police. Commission members then started bickering among themselves before the chairman restored order.

Commissioners will issue a report later this year on their findings. The eight-member panel is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

Chairman Martin R. Castro says the hearing was the commission's first outside of Washington, D.C., in years. The panel's first-ever was in Birmingham in 1958, when state and local laws mandated racial segregation.

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