Published August 04, 2011
In an effort to ensure their citizens are treated fairly in Alabama, 16 nations, including Mexico, filed briefs against the state’s controversial new immigration law that has already drawn fire from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Edward Still, a Birmingham attorney who filed the brief, told The Montgomery Advertiser that the nations “want to have one immigration law and not 50.”
"Mexico has an interest in protecting its citizens and ensuring that their ethnicity is not used as basis for state-sanctioned acts of bias and discrimination," the brief said, according to the paper.
Criticism for the law, which is said to be the strictest state-level immigration law in the country, has been fierce and swift. Besides the DOJ’s lawsuit, the Roman Catholic Church, three dozen plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center have all filed lawsuits against the state’s governor, The Montgomery Advertiser reported.
Gov. Robert Bentley signed the law naming it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant in Alabama and allowing law enforcement officials to detain individuals if they have a "reasonable suspicion" of being in the country illegally. The law also makes it illegal to give undocumented immigrants rides and requires school districts to check on the immigration status of students who enroll.
The Justice Department argues that the states are overstepping their authority by wading into something that is a strictly federal responsibility: immigration enforcement.
Proponents of the bill say the Obama administration and federal bureaucrats have turned a blind eye toward the immigration issue and refuse to fulfill their constitutional duty to enforce laws already on the books.
A 16-nation brief is different from a lawsuit and in many respects is symbolic without much legal weight.
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay are named on the brief.