Georgia judge issues stay on parts of state's immigration law

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July 5, 2011


By David Godow

ATLANTA, Georgia:

Georgia's tough new immigration law may be running into early trouble following federal circuit court Judge Thomas Thrash's June 27 injunction against two of its key elements. The injunction, filed in response to the suit against the law by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, partially upheld the plaintiffs' argument that the law unconstitutionally meddles in immigration law, the preserve of the federal government.

Thrash's injunction prevented two controversial provisions from entering the books on July 1, when the rest of the law went into effect: the prohibition on knowingly transporting or harboring illegal aliens and the clause allowing law enforcement officers to investigate the immigration status of criminal suspects without ID.

Parts of the law allowed to enter force as scheduled included increased penalties for using fake documents to obtain employment, penalties for local governments that use illegal workers on public projects, and other less controversial measures to limit illegal immigration.

The judge's injunction, which Governor Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens have both vowed to appeal, will remain in effect pending a final ruling later this year.

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