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A Mayor for Everyone

Molly Lauterback,
Immigrants' Rights Project
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June 30, 2011

Paul Bridges, the Republican mayor of Uvalda, Georgia, is as Southern as it gets. Growing up in a small town of a few thousand people in southeast Georgia, Mr. Bridges drives a pick-up truck, keeps 15 goats on his small dairy farm and speaks with a classic Southern drawl. It just so happens that Mr. Bridges is also a passionate advocate for immigrants’ rights and is one of our plaintiffs in our case against Georgia’s discriminatory anti-immigrant law, the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act,” or H.B. 87.

Mr. Bridges chose to participate in our lawsuit for one simple reason: as a mayor of a small Georgia town, he works tirelessly to protect all residents in his community, documented or undocumented. In his declaration to support blocking implementation of H.B. 87, Mr. Bridges states, “I ran for mayor because I wanted to make Uvalda a better and fairer place for everyone to live.” But H.B. 87 would interfere with and hinder Mr. Bridges’ ability to do just that. With this law in effect, he would be breaking the law when he helped an undocumented resident by driving him or her to a doctor’s appointment, or by opening his home to offer a safe place to sleep.

Mr. Bridges was recently highlighted on for his efforts in speaking out against H.B. 87. In the article entitled “Republican Mayor in the South Becomes Unlikely Advocate for Immigrants,” Mr. Bridges states, “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing…because I can’t run scared of something that is so basically and blatantly wrong.” On, Mr. Bridges writes that he is “proud to participate in this challenge to Georgia’s harsh ‘papers please’ law, which runs counter to America’s greatest values and threatens to run my town’s economy to the ground.”

We are proud to represent Mr. Bridges and the over 20 other individuals and organizations who believe in a country where everyone, regardless of status, is treated fairly and with respect. As Mr. Bridges writes, “Any American who values liberty, privacy and prosperity should fight this unnecessary, unconstitutional and extremist law.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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