Thursday, October 29, 2020

Alabama Announces New Verification System ahead of Immigration Law Ruling

Alabama state officials announced the details of a verification system that will instantaneously return the legal status and citizenship of motorists in the state yesterday, even though a judge has yet to rule whether the tough immigration law will be allowed to take effect.

The state says the “ALVerify” system solves the problem of how to verify the legal status of people purchasing or renewing license plates, one of the requirements under the harsh immigration law passed in June.

At a news conference Gov. Robert Bentley allowed officials to run his driver’s license number and expiration dates through the ALVerify system to demonstrate how it works.  The results showed the governor’s license to be valid.

But the system, developed with the Center for Advanced Public Safety at the University of Alabama, may never be put to use if U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Blackburn rules against the law.  Blackburn is expected to make a ruling by Wednesday.

Officials did not say how much the program would cost taxpayers and critics are calling it a hasty move before the judge’s ruling.

“I think it’s kind of premature of the state to be undertaking new actions in pursuit of a law that we don’t even know is going to be upheld yet,” Allison Neal, ACLU Legal Director, said.

Blackburn will have to decide if the law can proceed as passed or to completely strike it down.  Another option she may take is to only put a hold on certain parts, allowing other provisions to take effect.

“We are in a race with Judge Blackburn to see what is going to happen to the law,” Limestone County License Commissioner Greg Tucker said.