By Alicia A. Caldwell | Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government hasn’t offered to help Alabama put in place a strict immigration law that the Obama administration is challenging in court, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.
The administration has sued to block the law, which is considered the toughest state immigration measure in the country.
“We have been working with the Department of Justice in its challenge to that law,” Napolitano told the House Judiciary Committee.
A federal appeals court in Atlanta this month temporarily blocked a part of the law that required public schools to check the immigration status of students. But the court did not bar law enforcement officials from detaining people suspected of being in the country illegally.
A final ruling in the case is not expected for several months.
Alabama Republicans have argued that the law, passed this year by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Robert Bentley, was necessary to protect the jobs of legal residents.
Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said he’s not surprised by Napolitano’s comments.
“I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the federal government won’t help us enforce our laws considering it hasn’t been enforcing its own law for years. That’s why we’re in this mess to begin with. In Alabama, we’re trying to turn off the magnet drawing illegal aliens across the border. The Obama Administration is trying to make the magnet stronger,” said Hubbard.
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