The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Anti-Defamation League, Mexico and the governments of several Central and South American countries filed court papers Wednesday in support of efforts to halt Georgia’s tough new immigration enforcement law.
The other countries joining on the side of those seeking a preliminary injunction in the case include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and several other civil and immigrant rights groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Georgia’s law this month and are now asking a judge to halt the measure pending the outcome of their case. They argue the measure – also known as House Bill 87 – is preempted by federal law and is unconstitutional.
“HB 87 substantially and inappropriately burdens the consistent country to country relations between Mexico and the United States of America,” Mexico says in its brief in support of halting the law, “interfering with the strategic diplomatic interests of the two countries and encouraging an imminent threat of state-sanctioned bias or discrimination.”
State officials filed court papers this week seeking to dismiss the lawsuit. They say the law is constitutional and predict it will survive the court challenge. Proponents say the state needed to act to curb illegal immigration because the federal government has failed to secure the nation’s borders. Illegal immigrants, say supporters of Georgia’s new law, are burdening the state’s taxpayer-funded resources, including public schools, jails and hospitals.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash has set the first hearing in the case for 10 a.m. Monday. He indicated he might rule from the bench that day on the plaintiffs’ request to halt the law.
Similar to a law Arizona enacted last year, Georgia’s measure empowers police to investigate the immigration status of certain suspects. It punishes people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants in Georgia or use fake identification to get a job here. And it requires many businesses to use the federal E-Verify program to ensure their newly hired workers are eligible to work in the United States. Much of the law is scheduled to start taking effect on July 1.