07/19/2013

SPLC continues fight against Georgia anti-immigrant law, files open records requests

The SPLC and a coalition of civil rights groups announced today the filing of 28 open records requests to ensure a provision of Georgia’s anti-immigrant law is not being used by law enforcement to racially profile residents or to detain people solely to check immigration status.

The records requests target municipal and county law enforcement agencies in areas around Atlanta and Macon as well as Dalton and Savannah. The announcement came after a federal judge ruled in an SPLC lawsuit that struck down major components of the state’s anti-immigrant law, also known as HB 87. The lawsuit has been dismissed, leaving a provision of the law intact that allows police officers to ask federal authorities to verify the immigration status of people detained for violating state laws.

“Today’s court decision ends a chapter in the fight against Georgia’s anti-immigrant laws,” said Naomi Tsu, senior SPLC staff attorney. “Going forward, we will be watching law enforcement and taking action when immigration enforcement violates civil rights.”

Georgia’s anti-immigrant law was inspired by Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. A federal judge blocked significant parts of the law in June 2011, including a provision that made it a crime to provide a ride to an immigrant. A federal appeals court let the immigration-verification provision take effect, while making clear that there are strict limits to this provision. Local law enforcement officers cannot stop, arrest or extend a person’s detention solely for immigration verification.

The civil rights coalition also includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, the ACLU of Georgia, the Asian Law Caucus, Federal & Hassan, LLP, Kuck Immigration Partners, LLC, and G. Brian Spears.