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Judge Blocks Parts of Georgia Immigration Law

Judge Blocks Parts of Georgia Immigration Law

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Published by FindLaw
A federal judge in Atlanta has blocked portions of Georgia's controversial new immigration law from going into effect while a lawsuit challenging the law's constitutionality makes its way through the courts. The blocked sections of the law, which were scheduled to take effect on July 1, created penalties for those who knowingly transport or shelter illegal immigrants while committing another crime, and also authorized law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of individuals without the proper forms of identification. The judge ruled that the portions in question conflict with federal immigration law, which takes precedence over state law when the two disagree.
A federal judge in Atlanta has blocked portions of Georgia's controversial new immigration law from going into effect while a lawsuit challenging the law's constitutionality makes its way through the courts. The blocked sections of the law, which were scheduled to take effect on July 1, created penalties for those who knowingly transport or shelter illegal immigrants while committing another crime, and also authorized law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of individuals without the proper forms of identification. The judge ruled that the portions in question conflict with federal immigration law, which takes precedence over state law when the two disagree.

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Published by: FindLaw on Jun 27, 2011
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06/28/2011

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T:\ORDERS\11\Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights\mpinjtwt.wpd
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIAATLANTA DIVISIONGEORGIA LATINO ALLIANCEFOR HUMAN RIGHTS, et al.,Plaintiffs,v. CIVIL ACTION FILENO. 1:11-CV-1804-TWTNATHAN DEALGovernor of the State of Georgia, inhis official capacity, et al.,Defendants.ORDERThis is a constitutional challenge to Georgia’s new illegal immigration law. Itis before the Court on the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Doc. 29] andthe Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 47]. For the reasons set forth below, theCourt GRANTS the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Doc. 29] andGRANTS in part and DENIES in part the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 47].I. BackgroundOn April 14, 2011, the Georgia General Assembly enacted House Bill 87, theIllegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 (“HB87”). Most provisionsof HB87 are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2011. The Act was designed to
Case 1:11-cv-01804-TWT Document 93 Filed 06/27/11 Page 1 of 79
 
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The forms of identification include:(1) A secure and verifiable document as defined in Code Section 50-36-2;(2) A valid Georgia driver’s license;(3) A valid Georgia identification card issued by the Department of Driver Services;(4) If the entity requires proof of legal presence in the United Statesbefore issuance, any valid driver’s license from a state or district of theUnited States or any valid identification document issued by the UnitedStates federal government;(5) A document used in compliance with paragraph (2) of subsection (a)of Code Section 40-5-21; or(6) Other information as to the suspect’s identity that is sufficient toallow the peace officer to independently identify the suspect.O.C.G.A. § 17-5-100(b). HB87 in effect requires all individuals in Georgia to carrya state-approved identity document in order to avoid extended questioning each timethey encounter law enforcement.
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address the “very serious problem of illegal immigration in the State of Georgia.”(Debt. on HB87 Before the Georgia Senate (April 14, 2011); Lauterback Decl., Ex.B.)Section 8 of HB87 authorizes Georgia law enforcement officers to investigatethe immigration status of criminal suspects where the officer has probable cause tobelieve the suspect committed another criminal offense. O.C.G.A. § 17-5-100(b).The suspect may show legal immigration status by providing one of five types of identification.
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If, however, the suspect fails to present one of the five listed forms of identification, the officer may use “any reasonable means available to determine theimmigration status of the suspect.O.C.G.A. § 17-5-100(c). If the officer determines
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that the suspect is in the United States illegally, he may detain the suspect, transporthim to a state or federal detention facility, or notify the United States Department of Homeland Security. O.C.G.A. § 17-5-100(e).Section 7 of HB87 prohibits “transporting or moving an illegal alien,”“concealing or harboring an illegal alien,” or “inducing an illegal alien to enter into[Georgia]” while committing another criminal offense. O.C.G.A. § 16-11-200;O.C.G.A. § 16-11-201; O.C.G.A. § 16-11-202. Finally, Section 19 of HB87 requiresGeorgia agencies and political subdivisions to accept only “secure and verifiable”identity documents for official purposes and provides criminal penalties for those who“knowingly accept[ ]” documents that are not secure and verifiable. O.C.G.A. § 50-36-2(c) & (d). HB87 defines secure and verifiable documents as those “approved andposted by the Attorney General.” O.C.G.A. § 50-36-2(b)(3). Consular identificationcards are specifically excluded. Id.The Plaintiffs are nonprofit organizations, business associations, andindividuals. The Plaintiff organizations claim that HB87 will cause them to divertresources from their traditional missions in order to educate the public on the effectsof the new law. The individual Plaintiffs claim that they will be subject toinvestigation, detention, and arrest under HB87 because of their status as, orassociation with, unauthorized aliens. The Plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit on
Case 1:11-cv-01804-TWT Document 93 Filed 06/27/11 Page 3 of 79

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