June 28, 2011

Federal Judge Thomas Thrash issues an injunction on two of twenty – three sections of HB 87 – most important, effective key provisions to go into effect

Posted by D.A. King at 10:18 am - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

WSJ story HERE

Judge Partially Blocks Controversial Georgia Immigration Law

By Nathan Koppel

Last week, we noted that the ACLU and other advocacy groups had filed suit challenging a Georgia law that is due to take effect July 1 and authorizes police to check the immigration status of suspects and to hand over to federal authorities anyone who is in the U.S. illegally. The law also requires businesses to verify that employees are eligible to work in the U.S. and criminalizes the transport of illegal immigrants.

The suit claims the immigration law oversteps state authority and opens the door to racial profiling of Hispanics, Asians and other minorities

Yesterday, federal judge Thomas Thrash enjoined parts of the law, ruling that the challengers were likely to prevail in their claims that federal law preempts Georgia’s right to empower police to investigate the immigration status of suspects. The judge has not made a final determination on whether the new Georgia law is constitutional.

Here’s a report on the ruling from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which notes the ruling marks the fourth time since last year that a judge has put an immigration law on hold amid constitutional challenges. (Judges in Arizona, Indiana and Utah have also done so.) (Click here to see yesterday’s decision in Georgia.)

Judge Thrash concluded that the Georgia law could conflict with federal immigration rules and “convert many routine encounters with law enforcement into lengthy and intrusive immigration status investigations.”

Yet, Thrash rejected several of the ACLU’s claims, including complaints that the new law would violate constitutional rights to travel and equal protection, the Journal-Constitution reports. The judge also preserved the law’s requirement that many Georgia businesses use a screening system designed to ensure newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States.

Still, the ACLU and other critics of the Georgia law claimed victory, contending they had stopped the law’s key provisions. “The judge recognized the serious flaws in the law in his decision,” Omar Jadwat, staff counsel for the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told the AJC.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s office said yesterday that the state would appeal Thrash’s decision to halt sections of the law.