This is good news: “US judge stops Ala. from enforcing part of law.”
A federal judge in Montgomery has stopped state officials from using Alabama’s [harsh]* new immigration law to prevent immigrants from renewing required permits on manufactured homes.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday evening that allows Alabama residents to renew registration of manufactured homes without requiring that they prove that they are in the country legally. The deadline for renewing the registration without being fined is Nov. 30.
Attorneys for a coalition of civil rights groups said earlier that by refusing to renew the permits, state officials could force people to abandon their homes.
Many of Alabama’s Sooners own manufactured homes. They bought them and paid for them. They own them. But under Alabama’s clumsily harsh new immigration law, Sooners are not allowed to renew the annual registration the state requires for such homes — allowing the state to, well, steal their homes.
Let me say that again: Alabama has passed a law allowing it to steal people’s homes. Thankfully, Judge Thompson has suspended that part of the new law — at least for now.
Iulia Filip of Courthouse News reported on the civil rights groups’ lawsuit earlier this week:
A federal class action claims Alabama’s harsh new immigration law unconstitutionally denies state-required registration to mobile-home owners who cannot prove they are legally in the United States. The plaintiffs say Congressman Mo Brooks personified his state’s animus against undocumented immigrants, saying, “As your congressman, on the House floor, I will do anything short of shooting them.”
The class claims the law denies essential housing services to Alabamans and violates federal housing and immigration policies.
Named plaintiffs, the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center, the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama, the Center for Fair Housing and two John Does, sued Alabama Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee and Elmore County Revenue Commissioner William Harper, in Federal Court.
The Does sued on behalf of all Alabama residents who own mobile homes and lack proof of U.S. citizenship or legal immigration status, with a subclass of Latino homeowners.
Under Alabama law, people who own or maintain a manufactured home must pay an annual registration fee and display a current identification decal on the home. Stickers must be renewed every year by Nov. 30. Violators face progressive fines and jail time.
But the plaintiffs say Alabama’s new immigration law makes it impossible for undocumented homeowners to register their homes and avoid the penalties.
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* The original word there, the standard adjective in most news reports on Alabama’s law, was “tough.” I call BS on describing harsh and punitive laws as “tough.” That’s a word with generally positive connotations and it’s routinely being applied to measures that don’t deserve such praise.
Toughness is a Good Thing, readers think. After all, what would the opposite of a “tough” law be? And so politicians grandstand with new measures that promise to be even “tougher” on immigration or on crime.
Those measures aren’t tough — they’re simply blunt, clumsy, recklessly indiscriminate and counter-productive. Let’s stop pretending that’s the same thing as “toughness.”