The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A federal judge in Atlanta has set a June 20 hearing to decide whether Georgia’s tough new immigration enforcement law should be put on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit that argues it is unconstitutional.
Also Friday, Senior Assistant Attorney General Devon Orland told the court her office would file a request to dismiss the lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups.U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash said he would hear that request on June 20 along with one for a preliminary injunction filed by the civil rights groups.
Thrash, who was nominated to the Atlanta court by President Bill Clinton, indicated he might issue a decision on the requests on June 20 when he told the attorneys present he has been known to rule from the bench.
The ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and other plaintiffs argue Georgia’s new law is unconstitutional and preempted by federal law. If Georgia’s law is allowed to take effect on July 1 as scheduled, the plaintiffs argue in court papers, it would subject people to the risk “unconstitutional and extended detention” while police investigate their immigration status. Federal judges have put similar laws on hold in Arizona and Utah following court challenges over their constitutionality.
State lawmakers, however, say they crafted Georgia’s new law so that it would withstand court challenges. Proponents say the measure will help uphold federal immigration laws and prevent illegal immigrants from burdening the state’s taxpayer-funded public schools, hospitals and jails.