ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) –
Lawyers who filed a lawsuit last week against HB 87, Georgia’s new immigration law, said they got a big victory this morning.
Federal Judge Thomas Thrash set a hearing date in the case: June 20.
An attorney who is part of the suit said the hearing shows the judge is sensitive to the concerns raised about the constitutionality of the law before it goes into effect July 1.
Last week, civil liberties groups filed suit to block Georgia’s law cracking down on illegal immigration, saying it violates state and federal law.
“We are very happy we have this opportunity to have a hearing to lay out the claims and issues before the judge,” said Azadeh Shahshahani with the American Civil Liberties Union. “We hope there will be a positive ruling blocking this unconstitutional law from going into effect.”
Shahshahani said watching courts block similar laws from going into effect in other states like Arizona and Utah is helping the fight in Georgia.
“The main similarity between all of these various measures is that it is an attempt by the states to get into the business of enforcing immigration laws,” Shahshahani said. “The courts have been clear this is not in the purview of the states. Immigration enforcement is to be reserved to the federal government.”
On Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal said he stands by House Bill 87.
“Obviously, we will litigate it,” he said. “We think the state statute was crafted to avoid any constitutional objections. I think many of those changes were embodied in the statute, as opposed to the language in the Arizona statute.”
The Georgia attorney general’s office released a statement saying, “The request for an injunction is just another attempt by special interest groups to block a law which Georgia has every right to enforce. The attorney general’s office remains committed to vigorously defending the law against the plaintiffs’ unfounded claims.”