In what is becoming a crucial battle in the war being waged by an ever-expanding federal authority against the sovereignty of the states, Alabama has been instructed to heed the voice of the power on the Potomac. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to the Attorney General of Alabama, Luther Strange, instructing him that despite the position taken in his earlier correspondence to the department, the DOJ has authority to conduct investigations into possible violations of the civil rights of immigrants.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, the author of the DOJ missive, was responding to a letter from Strange penned earlier in the week. In that letter, Strange demanded that the federal department inform him as to the authority granted to it to require schools in Alabama to report demographic enrollment data to the DOJ.
Should the Department of Justice fail to demonstrate to Strange the source of such authority, Strange concludes that he will “assume you have none, and will proceed accordingly.” Exactly what he would proceed to do was not made clear in the letter.
The controversy at the heart of the flurry of correspondence between Birmingham and Washington is HB 56, Alabama’s recently enacted immigration statute. The law mandates that school districts perform immigration status checks of public school students, as well as making it a misdemeanor for an illegal resident not to have immigration papers.
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