published Friday, December 16th, 2011

Georgia, Alabama seek delay in immigration law hearing

ATLANTA — Alabama and Georgia on Thursday asked a federal appeals court to delay action on legal challenges to their tough new laws targeting illegal immigration pending the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on a similar challenge to Arizona’s immigration law, the states’ attorneys general said in a statement.

The Supreme Court said Monday it would review a federal appeals court ruling that blocked parts of the Arizona law. One part requires that police, while enforcing other laws, question a person’s immigration status if officers suspect he is in the country illegally.

The Obama administration challenged the Arizona law, arguing that regulating immigration is the job of the federal government, not states. Similar laws in Alabama, South Carolina and Utah also are facing administration lawsuits. Private groups are suing over immigration measures adopted in Georgia and Indiana.

“It is clear that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona’s case will be relevant to the 11th Circuit’s consideration of our appeal,” said Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange added his support for Arizona. “Alabama has supported Arizona in its legal effort from the beginning, and Alabama will continue to vigorously support Arizona as the case moves to the Supreme Court,” he said.

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