HEADLINES: Immigration

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The Deep South, already the nation’s hottest undocumented immigration battleground, will see more action in the coming days, with Mississippi considering an Alabama-style immigration crackdown bill. Rodney Hunt, who heads the group Mississippi Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement, said the law was needed as soon as possible to help bring down the state’s 10.4% unemployment rate. Mississippi state Rep. Andy Gipson, a co-sponsor of the bill, said that lawmakers decided to cut out some provisions, including a section that criminalizes a failure to carry immigration papers, because the 11th Circuit temporarily blocked a similar section of Alabama’s bill in October. [LATimes]

Portions of Alabama’s strict immigration law will continue to remain in force until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on its predecessor, the Arizona statue that ignited a national firestorm in the debate over illegal immigration. A panel of three judges from an Atlanta federal appeals court decided Thursday to put off action on lawsuits against measures in Alabama and Georgia. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah and Indiana have passed legislation modeled on Arizona’s. The Justice Department has sued to block all the laws, arguing that the role of enforcement belongs solely to the federal government. Human-rights and immigrant-advocacy groups have filed separate suits claiming the laws violate individuals’ civil rights. [NPR]

A federal judge blocked police in Arizona from enforcing a section of the state’s 2010 immigration enforcement law that prohibited people from blocking traffic when they seek or offer day labor services on streets. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled Wednesday that groups seeking to overturn the law will likely prevail in their claim that the day labor rules violate the First Amendment. The ban was among a handful of provisions in the law that were allowed to take effect after a July 2010 decision by Bolton halted enforcement of other, more controversial elements of the law. The previously blocked portions include a requirement that police, while enforcing other laws, question people’s immigration status if officers suspect they are in the country illegally. Dan Pochoda, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, one of the group’s representing people who filed the lawsuit, said the judge saw through the government’s ruse that the day labor rules were about traffic safety, when the goal all along was to get at day laborers. [Associated Press]

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