SPLC victorious in challenge to Alabama’s immigrant ‘scarlet letter’ law

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It was a minor offense with potentially big consequences in Alabama.

In November 2012, four Latino immigrants were arrested for fishing without a license – a misdemeanor. But under a provision of the state’s anti-immigrant law, if immigrants appearing in state court could not prove their legal status, they would have their names placed on an online list available to anyone.

That raised concerns for immigrants in Alabama, who reported that the anti-immigrant law passed by the state a year earlier had already unleashed a kind of vigilantism among some Alabamians who believed they could harass, abuse and intimidate Latinos with impunity.

Under a settlement agreement the SPLC announced today, the state will not publish the list –blocking the final provision of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law challenged in court. That law, commonly known as HB 56, has been largely eviscerated by legal challenges from the SPLC and a coalition of other groups.

“This is yet another victory for Alabama’s immigrant community,” said Sam Brooke, SPLC staff attorney. “Blocking this final vestige of HB 56 is another nail in the coffin for Alabama’s misguided attempt to bully and intimidate immigrants.”

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