Georgia immigration law
Georgia in 2011 enacted a law authorizing police to demand "papers" demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops, criminalizes Georgians who interact with undocumented individuals, and makes it unjustifiably difficult for individuals without specific identification documents to access state facilities and services. The law was inspired by Arizona’s notorious SB 1070, which has already been blocked by courts.
The SPLC joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the Asian Law Caucus in filing a class action lawsuit challenging the law on constitutional grounds.
The lawsuit charges that the extreme law endangers public safety, invites the racial profiling of Latinos, Asians and others who appear foreign to an officer, and interferes with federal law. The lawsuit asserts that the new law is unconstitutional because it interferes with federal authority over immigration matters in violation of the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution; authorizes and requires unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment; restricts the constitutional right to travel freely throughout the United States; and violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution by unlawfully discriminating against people who hold certain kinds of identity documents.
It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on behalf of civil rights, labor, social justice and faith-based organizations, including the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Service Employees International Union, the Southern Regional Joint Board of Workers United, Alterna, the Coalition of Latino Leaders, the Task Force for the Homeless, DreamActivist.org, Instituto de Mexico, the Coalition for the People’s Agenda, the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center, individually named plaintiffs who would be subject to harassment or arrest under the law, and a class of similarly situated people.
Georgia is the third state to have enacted laws emulating Arizona’s controversial and costly bill. The laws in the other two states, Utah and Indiana, are currently facing legal challenges as well.