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Ruling expected today on nation’s strictest immigration law

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A federal judge in Birmingham, Ala., is expected to issue a ruling Wednesday on the constitutionality of a state law meant to crack down on illegal immigration that is widely seen as by far the nation’s strictest.

The legislation, signed into law in June by Gov. Robert Bentley, requires police, in the course of any arrest or traffic stop, to try to determine a person’s residency status if there is ‘reasonable suspicion’ the person is an immigrant. It contains many other provisions, including bans on knowingly driving illegal immigrants and renting them property.

The law, which was set to take effect Sept. 1, was challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as civil-rights and religious groups. In August, U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn issued a temporary injunction, suspending implementation of the law and giving herself time to rule on the challenges, with a self-imposed deadline of Wednesday, the Huntsville Times reports.

Federal courts have temporarily suspended portions of similar laws in a number of states, including Arizona, Indiana and Georgia.

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-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta


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