By Peggy Gargis
BIRMINGHAM, Ala (Reuters) - Civil rights groups on Friday filed a lawsuit challenging Alabama's new immigration law, described as the toughest in the nation by both critics and supporters.
The lawsuit says Alabama's law will subject both citizens and non-citizens to "criminal penalties and incarceration for innocent daily activities, such as giving a ride to a neighbor, hiring a day laborer, or renting a room to a friend."
The suit also says the law will deter children in immigrant families from enrolling in public schools. Alabama's law is unique in requiring public schools to determine, by review of birth certificates or sworn affidavits, the legal residency status of students upon enrollment.
Republican Governor Robert Bentley signed the crackdown into law in June, and it is set to take effect September 1.
Alabama now joins Georgia, Arizona, Utah and Indiana in defending new immigration laws in federal court.
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)