The federal government filed a request with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop enforcement of the Alabama immigration law, which is considered by many to be the toughest/restrictive in the U.S. The U.S. Justice Department in asking for the halt of enforcement said the law could have dire diplomatic consequences abroad, invites discrimination and merely forces illegal immigrants into neighboring states.
Written comments included that the new law is "highly likely to expose persons lawfully in the United States, including school children, to new difficulties in routine dealings." Provisions in the Alabama law make it stricter than similar laws passed in Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia. Federal judges in the other states have blocked all or parts of measures in those state laws.
Immigration became a hot issue in Alabama over the past decade as the state's Hispanic population grew by 145 percent to about 185,600, still only about 4 percent of the total population.
Complaints about enforcement of these new immigration laws enacted by the individual states have come from the agricultural industry as much or more than any industry. Hispanic workers have been the ones willing to do hard labor in fields and manual labor around farms. U.S. citizens without jobs still refuse to do the hard labor of farming and picking crops. Crops, mainly produce, have rotted in fields because Hispanic workers have not been available. Even legal workers of Hispanic heritage are avoiding the potential of being harassed by not going into states with these strict immigration laws.