The US government asked an appeals court today to halt the Alabama immigration law considered by many the toughest in the nation, saying it could have dire diplomatic consequences abroad, invites discrimination, and merely forces illegal immigrants into neighboring states. The motion, filed in the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, claimed Alabama's new law is "highly likely to expose persons lawfully in the United States, including school children, to new difficulties in routine dealings."
A federal judge earlier upheld two key provisions in the law that allow authorities to question people suspected of being in the country illegally and hold them without bond, and let officials check the immigration status of students in public schools. Those measures will remain in effect while the appeals court weighs the Justice Department's request. "I remain committed to seeing that this law is fully implemented," said Gov. Robert Bentley. "We will continue to defend this law against any and all challenges." (Read more Alabama stories.)