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Alabama AG makes revision suggestions for immigration law

By Gustavo Valdes, CNN
updated 5:30 AM EST, Wed December 7, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alabama AG suggests changes to state's controversial anti-illegal immigration law
  • He suggests repealing some sections being challenged by the Justice Department
  • Alabama senators met with AG couple weeks ago; asked for possible revisions of law

(CNN) -- Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has sent to state legislative leaders a series of suggested changes to the state's controversial anti-illegal immigration law.

In a memo dated December 1, Strange responds to a request made by the Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh and the Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard:

"My goals are to (1) make the law easier to defend in court; (2) assist law enforcement in implementation; and (3) remove burdens on law abiding citizens. All while not weakening the law," Strange wrote.

He suggests the repeal of some sections of the law being challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of civic groups. Specifically, items he suggests repealing include: making it illegal for an immigrant to fail to carry registration documents and allowing private lawsuits against officials who fail to carry out the law, among others.

Marsh and Hubbard met with Strange a couple of weeks ago and asked for recommendations for possible revisions of the law, said Todd Stacy, Hubbard's communications director.

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"Make no mistake, the Legislature is not going to repeal this law and have Alabama become a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants. Speaker Hubbard is focused on making our illegal immigration law work better, clearing up misconceptions and correcting any portions that might be vague or require additional definitions. ... Speaker Hubbard wants a positive work environment for Alabama citizens and legal immigrants. We can have that while also shutting off the magnet drawing illegal immigrants to our state," Stacy said.

Alabama Senate Majority Whip Gerald Dial said last month he was already working on some changes to the law to correct what he called "unintended consequences."

The law, known as HB 56, raised concerns that it might damage the state's image after representatives of Mercedes Benz and Honda in separate instances, were detained for not having their immigration documents when they were stopped for a traffic violation.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said Monday that he is reaching out to international companies to reassure them and that he is worried the law could hurt industrial recruiting, CNN affiliate WBRC in Birmingham reported.

HB 56 went into effect on September 28 after U.S. Federal District Court Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn ruled that most of the law is constitutional enjoining only a few parts. It is considered by many to be the toughest law against illegal immigration in the country. It allows police to ask for legal status of people under certain circumstances and voids contracts if a party is not in the country legally. A part requiring public schools to inquire legal status of new students was enjoined by the 11th District Court of Appeals.

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