The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has taken the unusual step of warning 156 local law enforcement agencies in Alabama that they’ll lose their federal funding if they don’t comply with federal civil rights laws when enforcing the state’s harsh immigration law.
“As you undertake law enforcement activity under H.B. 56, it is critical that your enforcement of this law does not result in the unlawful stopping, questioning, searching, detaining, or arresting of persons in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, or in the targeting of racial or ethnic minorities in a manner that violates the Fourteenth Amendment,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez wrote in a letter dated Friday and sent to reporters on Tuesday.“As a recipient of federal financial assistance, your agency is required to comply with various non-discrimination requirements under federal statutes and regulations,” including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968,” Perez said in the letter. “The federal government may, in some circumstances, terminate federal funds or bring a civil lawsuit in federal court seeking affirmative relief to enforce Title VI, the Safe Streets Act, and their implementing regulations.”
Alabama’s Attorney General has recommended a “tweak” to a section of the law by eliminating a provision which deems renting an apartment to illegal immigrants “harboring.” He also wants legislators to drop the ban on bond for illegal immigrants.