ACLU, NILC and Civil Rights Coalition Ask Court to Block Implementation of Georgia’s Discriminatory “Show Me Your Papers” Law

June 8, 2011 2:51 pm

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ATLANTA – The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and a coalition of civil rights organizations today asked a federal court to block implementation of Georgia’s draconian new anti-immigrant law. The law, inspired by Arizona’s S.B. 1070 and scheduled to go into effect July 1, authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during routine encounters, criminalizes Georgians who interact with undocumented individuals and denies individuals without specific identification access to state facilities and services.

In a motion requesting a preliminary injunction, the groups charge that Georgia’s discriminatory law unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution; authorizes unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment; restricts the constitutional right to travel freely throughout the United States; and violates the separation of powers principles in the Georgia Constitution. The motion asks to prevent the law from going into effect pending a final ruling on its constitutionality.

Although the vast majority of states have declined to follow Arizona’s lead by enacting laws like S.B. 1070, three have done so: Utah, Indiana, and Georgia. An even more restrictive law was passed last week by the legislature in Alabama. The main provisions of Arizona’s law have been blocked by the federal courts. After an ACLU and NILC lawsuit, a federal district court last month put Utah’s law on hold pending further review. The ACLU and NILC also filed last month a legal challenge to Indiana’s law, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

Along with the ACLU and NILC, the civil rights coalition includes the ACLU of Georgia, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Asian Law Caucus, Federal & Hassan, LLP, Kuck Immigration Partners, LLC, and G. Brian Spears.

The following quotes can be attributed to members of the coalition, as listed below.

Omar Jadwat, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project
“HB 87 undermines basic principles of fairness, equality and liberty by criminalizing basic acts of human decency and creating a ‘show me your papers’ policing system in the state of Georgia. We are confident that the court will recognize the clear danger the law poses to the civil rights and civil liberties of all Georgians and will prevent the law from taking effect.”

Linton Joaquin, general counsel of NILC
“Unless this law is blocked, countless Georgians – native-born and immigrant alike – will suffer grave constitutional rights violations, be subject to racial profiling or criminalized because of their interactions with their neighbors and family. These people should not be subject to these irreparable harms simply because an unconstitutional law is on the books.”

Debbie Seagraves, executive director of ACLU of Georgia
“It is imperative that our clients who are engaged in charitable work know that they can continue their work without facing fines or jail time. If this law goes into effect, they cannot be sure that they will not be punished for following their religious mandates.”

Sin Yen Ling, senior staff attorney with the Asian Law Caucus
“Asian and Latino communities in Georgia will be disproportionately impacted if HB 87 is permitted to go into effect on July 1st. The Court must grant the injunction to prevent Georgia from engaging in racial profiling of immigrant communities.”

Mary Bauer, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center
“If allowed to take effect, this law will threaten the rights of citizens and non-citizens alike by encouraging racial profiling. It undermines our core American values of fairness and equality.”

The preliminary injunction motion was filed today in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on behalf of civil rights, labor, social justice and faith-based organizations, including Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Service Employees International Union, the Southern Regional Joint Board of Workers United, Alterna, Coalition of Latino Leaders, Task Force for the Homeless,, Instituto de Mexico, Coalition for the People’s Agenda and the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center; individually named plaintiffs who would be subject to harassment or arrest under the law; and a class of similarly situated people.

Attorneys on the case include Jadwat, Andre Segura, Cecillia D. Wang and Kate Desormeau of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project; Elora Mukherjee of the ACLU Racial Justice Program; Joaquin, Karen C. Tumlin, Nora A. Preciado, Melissa S. Keaney, Tanya Broder and Jonathan Blazer of the National Immigration Law Center; Bauer, Andrew H. Turner, Samuel Brooke, Naomi Tsu, Michelle R. Lapointe and Daniel Werner of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Chara Fisher Jackson and Azadeh N. Shahshahani of the ACLU of Georgia; Ling of the Asian Law Caucus; R. Keegan Federal, Jr. of Federal & Hassan, LLP.; Charles H. Kuck and Danielle M. Conley of Kuck Immigration Partners, LLC; and G. Brian Spears.

The motion for a preliminary injunction can be found at:…

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