6/8 – ajc.com – Groups seek injunction against anti illegal immigrant law | ajc.com

Groups seek injunction against anti illegal immigrant law  | ajc.com.

Breaking News

Metro Atlanta / State News 2:06 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Opponents of a new Georgia anti illegal immigration law are asking a federal judge to put the measure on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit they filed against the measure last week.

A group of civil rights organizations filed a request for a preliminary injunction Wednesday. They argue the law is preempted by federal law and is unconstitutional.

The groups include the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The original challenge filed last week targets several parts of Georgia’s new law, including one that would authorize police to investigate the immigration status of certain suspects and take illegal immigrants to jail. The plaintiffs argue that provision intrudes on the federal government’s power to regulate immigration.

Supporters of the new law say it will help curb illegal immigration in Georgia. They say illegal immigrants are burdening the state’s taxpayer-funded public schools, hospitals and jails.

After signing the measure, called House Bill 87, into law last month, Gov. Nathan Deal expressed confidence in it,  saying state legislators benefited from observing the legal battle play out over a similar law in Arizona last year. A spokeswoman for the Republican governor said Thursday that Deal expects the court to rule in Georgia’s favor.

“These organizations falsely claim HB 87 is a copycat of Arizona’s legislation. It is not,” said Stephanie Mayfield, a spokeswoman for Deal. “The Georgia General Assembly carefully vetted a piece of legislation that ensured a constitutional final product.”

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