Lawsuits by churches, the U.S. government and civil-rights groups seeking to stop Alabama from enforcing new restrictions on illegal immigrants will be heard as one.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn in Birmingham, Alabama, ordered the cases’ consolidation yesterday. Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Methodist bishops; the U.S. Justice Department, and the American Civil Liberties Union sued Alabama Governor Robert Bentley starting July 8.
Church leaders claim the law stops them from carrying out their religious mission by denying food, shelter and worship to people who are in the U.S. illegally. The U.S. says the law conflicts with federal authority over aliens, such as regulation of migrant employment. The ACLU, joined by the Southern Poverty Law Center, objected that transporting children who are illegal immigrants will be a crime.