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A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked two more sections of Alabama's tough new law targeting illegal immigration pending the outcome of lawsuits that seek to overturn the law entirely.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order temporarily halting a section that says courts can't enforce contracts involving illegal immigrants and another that makes it a felony for an illegal immigrant to do business with the state.

The law adopted last year was challenged by both the federal government and a coalition of activist groups. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit heard arguments last week but said it won't rule on the overall case until the U.S. Supreme Court decides a federal challenge to a similar law in Arizona. The appeals court is also weighing Georgia's law.

Lawyers in the Alabama case had asked the court to at least temporarily stop the two sections and others, claiming they were causing harm to people in the state.

"We are very pleased that the Eleventh Circuit understood the harms these provisions were causing in Alabama, and saw fit to enjoin them," said the Southern Poverty Law Center's Sam Brooke, who argued before the panel last week. "This is a great day for the residents of our state."

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said he strongly disagrees with the court's decision.

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