A federal judge on Wednesday said Alabama law enforcement officers can try to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally, but blocked other parts of the state’s new crackdown law, which is the toughest in the country.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn said Alabama is allowed to tread anywhere that federal law doesn’t explicitly prohibit states from acting, which means the state can enact its own penalties for immigrants who fail to carry their registration papers, and can enable its state and local police to check immigration status.

“Local officials have some inherent authority to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law, so long as the local official ‘cooperates’ with the federal government,” the judge said in her 115-page decision.

And in a key part of her ruling, Judge Blackburn said the state can require schools to determine the legal status of students’ parents, though children of illegal immigrants may not be denied attendance.

Continue reading →