Georgia legislature passes Arizona-style immigration bill

[JURIST] The Georgia General Assembly [official website] passed an Arizona-style immigration bill [HB 87 text; materials] on Thursday that requires police to check the immigration [JURIST news archive] status of anyone they have probable cause to believe has committed a criminal offense and requires businesses to use E-Verify [official website] to check the immigration status of potential employees. The bill also creates a new criminal offense of "aggravated identity fraud" which applies to anyone using fraudulent identifying information to obtain employment, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Governor Nathan Deal [official website] has indicated that he intends to sign the bill into law [AJC report]. Debbie Seagraves, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia [advocacy website], condemned the bill [press release]:

This law undermines our core American values of fairness and equality and will make the rampant racial profiling of people of color that is already going on in Georgia that much worse, threatening the rights of citizens and non-citizens alike. Authorizing police to demand papers from people on the street is a tactic commonly associated with police states, not robust democracies.
The ACLU contends that Arizona-style immigration laws run contrary to federal law and promote racial profiling.

Alabama, Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah and Indiana [JURIST reports] have all enacted Arizona-style immigration laws within the past year. Nonetheless, these type of laws remain controversial. Earlier this week, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] upheld [opinion, PDF] a lower court decision to enjoin several provisions [JURIST report] of Arizona's controversial immigration law [SB 1070 materials; JURIST news archive]. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed suit [JURIST report] in July to permanently enjoin Arizona from enforcing the law, arguing that it is preempted by federal law and is thus a violation of the Supremacy Clause [text] of the US Constitution. In response, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website] countersued [JURIST report] the federal government alleging an infringement upon state rights. In May, the ACLU filed suit [JURIST report] also seeking an injunction against Arizona's immigration law. The national debate over immigration issues has led President Barack Obama [official website] to call for comprehensive immigration reform [JURIST report].

 

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