A federal judge blocked two parts of the Georgia immigration bill yesterday. The ACLU of Georgia filed suit for a preliminary injunction against the bill because it interfered with the federal power and authority over immigration matters, and the judge issued a temporary injunction against the provision to penalize people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants and the provision that authorized officers to verify the immigration status of someone who cannot provide the proper form of identification. Most of the bill was left intact without an injunction, though, such as the provision that requires Georgia businesses and government agencies to use the federal system to check the immigration status of new workers and the provision that requires people applying for food stamps and public housing to provide specific forms of identification. The provisions that have not been blocked are set to go into effect in January. The state plans to appeal.
South Carolina’s governor signed an Arizona-like bill into law on Monday (June 27). This bill requires police to check suspects’ immigration statuses and call federal immigration officers if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. Though police are banned from questioning immigration status solely based on suspicion that a person is in the country illegally, they may check someone immigration status for as small of an offense as a traffic stop. The bill also mandates that all businesses check their new hires through the federal E-Verify system, and it allocates $1.3 million in the 2011-2012 budget to create an Illegal Immigration Enforcement unit within the Department of Public Safety. The bill is set to go into effect January 1, 2012, but the ACLU plans to challenge the bill on Constitutional grounds before this date.
In addition, The ACLU is still planning to challenge the immigration law mentioned here, but it has not filed suit yet.
By Betsy Stukes, HRI Summer Legal Intern & J.D. Candidate, The University of Texas School of Law