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Alabama's Attorney General Says Immigration Law Needs To Change

Alabama's attorney general is calling for changes in the state's tough immigration law. The letter from Luther Strange comes weeks after a Mercedes-Benz executive was jailed, after he left his passport and license at his hotel. The incident embarrassed lawmakers and put the immigration law back in the national spotlight.

Today, Strange recommended that lawmakers repeal a few parts of the law including one section that requires immigrants carry documentation with them.

The AP reports:

"The private letter, acquired by The Associated Press, represents the first time the attorney general has expressed concerns since he started defending the law against a federal court challenge filed by about 30 organizations and individuals. The law is considered by both opponents and supporters as the toughest in the U.S. against illegal immigrants.


"He also suggested repealing the requirement that public schools collect information on the immigration status of students. That section is also on hold.

"Strange said his recommendations were based only on the legal challenge to the law and on efforts to make the law clearer, but did not address policy decisions by the Legislature. 'The legislative leadership asked for our opinion and we provided it,' he said in an e-mail."

The Montgomery Advertiserreportsthat the AG also recommending the section of the law that allowed citizens to sue the government for failing to enforce the law and recommended rephrasing the part of the law that barred illegal immigrants from enrolling in universities.

On Nov. 22, Tell Me More talked to a reporter for the Birmingham News about the law and how incidents like the Mercedes exec arrest eroded support for it.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.