published Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Federal judge halts part of immigration law

Jeremy Redmon, Cox Newspapers
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    Protesters rally in Atlanta at the capitol to denounce support bills that aim to crack down on illegal immigration. AP Photo/John Amis

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ATLANTA — A federal judge in Atlanta on Monday put on hold some of the most controversial parts of Georgia’s new anti-illegal immigration law pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging the measure’s constitutionality.

In a 45-page ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash preliminarily enjoined the state from enforcing two provisions in the law.

One of those provisions would empower police to investigate the immigration status of certain suspects. The other would punish people who knowingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants or encourage them to come here.

The judge said in his ruling that the civil and immigrant rights groups who are suing to block the law have shown they can prevail on their arguments that these provisions are pre-empted by federal law.

State officials indicated last week they would appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta if Thrash were to grant the preliminary injunction.

Also Monday, the judge threw out some of the arguments in the lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and others. Among the arguments he dismissed were ones that say the new law violates people’s rights to travel and their protection against unlawful search and seizure.

Georgia’s immigration law was to have been phased in over the next few years.

The provisions empowering police to arrest illegal immigrants, and barring people from transporting, harboring and luring them to the state, would have taken effect Friday.

Another provision to take effect Friday calls for up to 15 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for people who use fake identification to get a job in Georgia.

Additionally, 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.

Also, the state Agriculture Department would be directed to study the possibility of creating Georgia’s own guest-worker program. Some Georgia employers have complained the federal government’s guest-worker program is too burdensome and expensive.

On Jan. 1, state and local government agencies have to require people applying for public benefits — such as food stamps, housing assistance and business licenses — to provide at least one “secure and verifiable” document, which could be a state or federally issued form of identification. Consular matriculation cards would not be accepted.

Also on this date, Georgia businesses with 500 or more employees would be required to use the federal E-Verify program to determine whether their new hires are eligible to work legally in the U.S.

The deadline would be July 1, 2012, for businesses with 100 or more employees but fewer than 500; and July 1, 2013, for firms with 11 to 99 employees. Businesses with 10 or fewer employees are exempt.

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nucanuck said...

Chinese coolee labor was brought to America to do dirty work and they were allowed to stay. African slaves were brought to America to do dirty work and they were allowed to stay. Corporate America has embraced/encouraged millions of Hispanics for decades to come do America's dirty work, but now America wants to deport them.

Neither the Chinese, the Africans, nor even the potato famine Irish were "legal", they were all economic migrants, no different from the Hispanics of today.

We have used them, abused them, and now we want to act like it was all their fault.

Both our morality and shame seem to be in short supply.

June 28, 2011 at 2:16 a.m.
SeaMonkey said...

illegal aliens are not immigrants...they're illegal entrants/criminals. they didn't come into the country lawfully.

sorry, nucanuck...they didn't break in.....

the comparison to people who were brought over against their will is ludicrous.

sorry...they're criminals and so are the people who hire them. but, first and foremost they're criminals, they broke in.

it's not that they'll do work no one else will do, they'll do it for practically nothing...and the people that hire them should see prison time.

and another thing...break into mexico and see what happens.

all other groups, who immigrated the proper way or were brought here, didn't demand in a very passive agressive way that everyone speak their language rather than they learn the official language.....very arrogant.

June 28, 2011 at 3:20 p.m.
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