Federal Court Blocks Georgia’s Anti-Immigrant Law

June 27, 2011 5:36 pm

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Landmark Decision is Fourth Draconian State Law Blocked by Courts

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ATLANTA – A federal judge in Georgia today issued the latest judicial rebuke to anti-immigrant laws passed this legislative season by state legislatures across the country. The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the ACLU of Georgia and a coalition of civil rights groups requested that the law be blocked from going into effect, pending a final ruling on its constitutionality. Today’s decision makes clear that H.B. 87 is unlikely to survive constitutional review because it improperly interferes with federal law.

Georgia is the fourth state in which a federal court has blocked costly and controversial anti-immigrant laws. A federal appellate court upheld an Arizona district court decision to block SB 1070’s most troubling provisions, and after ACLU and NILC lawsuits federal district courts put Utah and Indiana’s laws on hold pending further review. The ACLU, NILC and the Southern Poverty Law Center have also announced plans to challenge Alabama and South Carolina’s Arizona-inspired anti-immigrant laws.

The following can be attributed to Omar Jadwat, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project:
“Georgia’s law, like Arizona’s, Utah’s, and Indiana’s before it, has been blocked by a federal court because it is fundamentally flawed. The universal failure of these laws in the courts is a stinging rebuke to state lawmakers who have pushed laws that would threaten all of our freedoms in order to express their hostility to immigrants and immigration. Thanks to today’s ruling, Georgia will not become a ‘show me your papers’ state on July 1.”

The following can be attributed to Karen Tumlin, managing attorney of NILC:
“The court rightly recognized that Georgia cannot, and should not, curtail fundamental freedoms for countless Georgians simply because of the color of their skin. We are pleased that the Court has prevented the most pernicious elements of this draconian law from going into effect. Today’s decision, as well as those in Indiana, Utah, and Arizona should send a strong warning signal to states considering treading down the same unconstitutional path: do so at your own risk.”

The following can be attributed to Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia:
“We are very happy that this decision means that people who minister to the poor and offer assistance to those in need can continue to practice their beliefs without being criminalized.”

The following can be attributed to Dan Werner, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center Immigrant Justice Project:
“This landmark ruling protects those living in Georgia from unconstitutional racial profiling, upholds the principle that federal functions such as immigration enforcement should rest with federal government authorities and hopefully will steady Georgia’s already shaky economy due to the law passing from another major blow.”

The following can be attributed to Sin Yen Ling, staff attorney with the Asian Law Caucus:
“Judge Thrash’s decision to strike down the most discriminatory parts of the law is a victory for Asians, Latinos, and all people of color in Georgia. This is a strong message that racial profiling of immigrants and those perceived to be will not be tolerated in Georgia state.”

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

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