WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On November 23, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama temporarily ordered certain Alabama officials to halt enforcement of Section 30 of HB 56, Alabama's discriminatory anti-immigration law, against individuals seeking to renew their annual mobile home registrations. This order was in response to a lawsuit filed on November 18th by Alabama fair housing rights organizations and two undocumented Alabama residents.
National Fair Housing Alliance members Central Alabama Fair Housing Center in Montgomery, the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama in Birmingham, and the Center for Fair Housing, Inc. in Mobile, along with two residents on behalf of a class, filed a lawsuit under the federal Fair Housing Act, and the Supremacy Clause and Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs are represented by Steve Dane of Relman, Dane, and Colfax PLLC, a Washington, D.C. civil rights firm.
The Alabama fair housing organizations and the individual plaintiffs specifically challenged the enforcement of Section 30 of HB 56, which charges criminal penalties on any person attempting to enter into any "business transaction" with the state without proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status. Mobile home residents who cannot provide documentation proving lawful residency or citizenship status would face the risk of felony charges or civil and criminal penalties if they attempt to renew their tags as required under Alabama's mobile homes statute or if they let tags expire after the November 30 renewal deadline. The challenged enforcement of HB 56 Section 30 would thus put undocumented immigrants in danger of being driven from their homes by making it impossible for them to comply with the mobile homes statute.
"Alabama's HB 56 is a blatant effort to discourage Latinos and others from living, working, and building families in Alabama," said Shanna L. Smith, NFHA President and CEO. "HB 56 is just one example of the many discriminatory anti-immigrant laws being passed in some parts of the country that encourage racial profiling and directly attack the federal rights of people of color based on national origin. NFHA applauds the efforts of fair housing organizations who are challenging these attacks."
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama has blocked the Revenue Commissioners for Alabama and Montgomery County from requiring any person attempting to pay the annual mobile-home registration renewal fee to provide U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status and from refusing to issue mobile-home tags to any person who cannot prove U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status. The Revenue Commissioner was also instructed to notify all county officials of the court's order.
About the National Fair Housing Alliance (www.nationalfairhousing.org)
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Fair Housing Alliance is a consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. Through comprehensive education, advocacy and enforcement programs, NFHA protects and promotes residential integration and equal access to apartments, houses, mortgage loans and insurance policies for all residents of the nation.
About the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center (www.cafhc.org)
The Central Alabama Fair Housing Center (CAFHC) is a non-profit agency created in 1995 to ensure equal housing opportunities for all residents of central Alabama. CAFHC serves residents of Autauga, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Chambers, Chilton, Coffee, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Dallas, Elmore, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Henry, Houston, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tallapoosa, and Wilcox Counties.
About the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama (www.fhcna.com)
The Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama has been created to ensure that all who seek housing have equal opportunity to rent, purchase, finance and insure properties they choose. The Fair Housing Center works with government agencies and attorneys to ensure that fair housing laws are enforced. The Center provides free counseling for alleged discrimination complaints.
About the Center for Fair Housing, Inc. (www.sacfh.org)
The Center for Fair Housing (CFH) is a non-profit agency created in 1997 to ensure equal housing opportunities for all residents of southwest Alabama. CFH serves residents of Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe and Washington counties.
SOURCE National Fair Housing Alliance