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Civil rights groups sue Georgia for Arizona-styled immigration law

The list of Arizona S.B. 1070-style immigration-enforcement laws challenged in court keeps growing. Now it’s Georgia’s turn. #

On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center filed a class action lawsuit challenging Georgia’s H.B. 87, the immigration-enforcement bill signed into law there by Gov. Nathan Deal last month. #

The National Immigration Law Center says that H.B. 87 is out of step with fundamental values and the rule of law and gives Georgians a reason to fear that they may be stripped of their constitutional rights simply because of the way they look or sound. #

Florida’s failure to pass an immigration bill that would have, among other provisions, required local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law and mandated E-Verify, was an issue of national interest. A recent decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the Legal Arizona Workers Act heightens the possibility that such an E-Verify bill could return during Florida’s next legislative session. #

According to Numbers USA, an organization that supports the concept of “attrition though enforcement” (the idea that unauthorized immigrants will leave if immigration laws are more strictly enforced), under the Georgia bill: #

  • Local and state police will be empowered to arrest illegal immigrants and take them to state and federal jails.
  • People who use fake identification to get a job in Georgia could face up to 15 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
  • A seven-member Immigration Enforcement Review Board would be established to investigate complaints about local and state government officials not enforcing state immigration-related laws.
  • Government officials who violate state laws requiring cities, counties and state government agencies to use E-Verify could face fines of up to $10,000 and removal from office.

The Immigration Policy Center pointed out that the Georgia Legislature passed the bill despite outcries from leaders of Georgia’s $68 billion agricultural industry — the Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Agribusiness Council and the Georgia Urban Ag Council, all of whom urged legislators to kill the Arizona-style enforcement measure, which they say will put them at a disadvantage to growers in other states. #

According to the National Immigration Law Center, Georgia, Utah and Indiana have enacted immigration-enforcement laws emulating Arizona’s S.B. 1070, even though the Arizona law was blocked by the courts. After an ACLU and Immigration Law Center lawsuit, a federal district court last month put Utah’s law on hold pending further review. The ACLU and the Immigration Law Center also filed a legal challenge to Indiana’s law. #

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