>Immigration Laws Challenged But Has Anything Really Changed?

>In the latest of the ongoing saga that is immigration reform in the Southeast, a Federal Court Judge in Birmingham has postponed implementation of portions of the controversial immigration reform measure that passed the state legislature in June. The bill was originally supposed to go into effect on September 1 but US District Judge, Sharon Blackburn has stopped portions of the law from being implemented until at least September 29. That date could be pushed further back if she has not made a final ruling by that point.

This is just the latest in a string of challenges to similar measures across the country. The sweeping immigration reform bills in many states have provisions that have penalties for harboring and transporting illegal immigrants, makes certain interaction with illegal aliens such as renting or providing housing criminal offenses, and allows local law enforcement to require proof of citizenship when investing other crimes with probable cause.

These provisions and ones like them are the type of things that are being challenged by many groups including the US Dept of Justice in many states. These cases are all working their way through the courts and will undoubtedly end up in the Supreme Court. How that all works out is some weeks or month or maybe years down the road. If I were to guess these will all get pulled together so they can be argued at the same time and sooner will be more likely than later. But does this really matter?

All of the bills that have passed in our region (NC, SC, GA, and AL) have employer requirements for E-Verify. These provisions and others placing additional burdens on the employer have already been challenged, argued and upheld by the courts. In fact, the employer provisions have not even been challenged in the cases in AL or GA. So, without some significant immigration reform on a federal basis, nearly all ginners in the Southeast will have to enroll in and use the E-Verify program at some point in the future. Alabama’s is the first to kick in on April 1, 2012 and GA and NC being the last with most gins getting brought in by July 2013. Please review our earlier blog posts for details on each states’ provisions.