The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in conjunction with the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) [advocacy websites] and other rights groups, filed a motion for preliminary injunction [text, PDF] on Wednesday to block a Georgia immigration law from going into effect. The motion comes one week after the groups filed a class action lawsuit [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia [official website] against HB 87, which was signed into law last month [JURIST report]. The law, which the groups claims was inspired by Arizona's SB 1070 [JURIST news archive], allows authorities to ask individuals to produce papers to prove their immigration status during routine stops, allows law enforcement to detain individuals that fail to produce the necessary papers and makes it a crime for Georgians to interact with undocumented individuals. The groups contend [press release] that the law violates the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures, violates the Supremacy Clause by interfering with the federal government's right to regulate immigration and impedes the right to travel freely throughout the US. Group members argue that the court needs to grant the injunction to prevent the law from infringing on the rights of immigrants as well as Georgians who are US citizens:
Unless this law is blocked, countless Georgiansnative-born and immigrant alikewill suffer grave constitutional rights violations, be subject to racial profiling or criminalized because of their interactions with their neighbors and family. These people should not be subject to these irreparable harms simply because an unconstitutional law is on the books.The law is set to go into effect on July 1.
The Georgia suit does not mark the first time the ACLU and other groups have taken legal action against immigration laws in recent months. Last month, the ACLU filed a class action suit challenging an Indiana immigration law [JURIST report] that requires individuals to provide proof of their legal status at all times and calls for all public meetings, websites and documents to be in English only. Also last month, the ACLU and other groups filed a class action suit against a Utah immigration law [JURIST report] that requires police to check the immigration status of anyone arrested for an alleged felony or serious misdemeanor. Similar legislation has also been approved in Alabama, Virginia and Oklahoma [JURIST reports]. Arizona's law, signed into law last April, is currently enjoined, and Governor Jan Brewer has pledged to appeal to the US Supreme Court [JURIST reports].