By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - An appeals court on Monday sided with the federal government in blocking several provisions in Alabama and Georgia's controversial anti-illegal immigration laws, while allowing other key parts of those laws to stand.
Advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center applauded the decisions, with National Immigration Law Center executive director Marielena Hincapie saying in a statement they "should send a strong message that state attempts to criminalize immigrants and their loved ones will not be tolerated."
Still, while three judges from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did strike down more challenged provisions than they allowed in a pair of rulings, officials from both Alabama and Georgia pointed out that the vast majority of their states' immigration laws remain valid.
"The essence of Alabama's immigration law has been upheld by today's ruling," Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement. "The core of (the) law remains if you live or work in the state, you should do so legally."