BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Mexico and 15 Central American and South American countries have asked a federal court to consider their briefs in support of lawsuits seeking to overturn Alabama's new immigration law.
The law, which is slated to go into effect Sept. 1, undermines U.S.-Mexico relations, according to Mexico's brief.
The state's new law "substantially and inappropriately burdens the consistent country to country relations between Mexico and the United States of America ... interfering with the strategic and diplomatic interests of the two countries and encouraging an imminent threat of state-sanctioned bias or discrimination," according to Mexico's brief.
"Mexico seeks to ensure that its citizens present in the U.S. are accorded the human and civil rights granted under the U.S. Constitution," the brief states.
Mexico asks in its amicus curiae -- or friend of the court -- brief that the federal court declare Alabama's law unconstitutional and prevent it from going into effect.
The brief by Mexico and the request to have it included in the case was filed Wednesday. The governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay also filed a motion seeking to join with Mexico in its brief.
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the Hispanic College Fund and Multicultural Education, Training & Advocacy Inc., also have filed a brief.
"It's an amazing groundswell of opposition to this unconstitutuonal law and we're very thankful for it," said Sam Brooke, an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Lawyers from the SPLC were among those who last month filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama and others challenging Alabama's new law. Since then the U.S. Justice Department and the bishops of the Episcopal, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches in Alabama have also filed lawsuits seeking to have the new law voided.
Brooke said the countries respect the sovereignty of the United States but want the country to honor its constitution.
Meanwhile, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Blackburn late Wednesday ruled that the lawsuits filed by the U.S. Justice Department, the bishops of the Episcopal, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches in Alabama, and one filed by the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama and other groups be consolidated into one case.
Blackburn will hold a hearing Aug. 24 in Birmingham to consider motions asking her to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the law from going into effect while the case proceeds in court.