The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and other rights groups are challenging in federal court Georgia’s law to crack down on illegal immigrants.
The law, allegedly inspired by a controversial Arizona law, authorizes police to check the immigration status of criminal suspects they think may be in the country illegally and requires businesses to verify that newly hired employees can legally work in the country. It was signed into law by Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal last month.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia claims that the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with federal power over immigration matters and authorizes unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
“Georgia’s law is fundamentally un-American: we are not a ‘show me your papers’ country nor one that believes in making certain people ‘untouchables’ that others should be afraid to assist, house or transport,” said Omar Jadwat, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “The courts have blocked Arizona’s and Utah’s laws from going into effect. Georgia should be prepared for the same outcome.”
In May, a federal district court in Salt Lake City blocked the implementation of Utah’s so-called “show me your papers” law after the ACLU and other rights groups filed suit against the law.
“It gives Georgians a reason to fear that they may be stripped of their constitutional rights simply because of the way they look or sound,” added Karen Tumlin, managing attorney with NILC. “Laws that promote this kind of bare-bones discrimination are out of step with history and cannot be allowed to stand. We are confident that the Court will agree that unconstitutional attempts to drive a wedge between Georgian communities should not be allowed.”