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Georgia argues immigration law valid after Supreme Court ruling

Lawyers for the state of Georgia argued Friday in court filings with the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] that its immigration law is constitutional under the recent US Supreme Court [official website] ruling in Arizona v. United States [opinion, PDF; JURIST report]. The appeals court in March deferred ruling [JURIST report] on challenges to Georgia and Alabama's controversial immigration laws until after the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Arizona's law, and the states were given until Friday to file new briefs consistent with that decision. Georgia argued in its filing [AP report] that the provision of its law being challenged is most comparable to the provision of the Arizona law that was upheld by the Supreme Court, which requires police officers to check the immigration status of those who are arrested and allows them to stop and arrest anyone whom they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. Alabama conceded in its filing that some of the provisions of its law are unconstitutional because they are similar to the ones struck down in Arizona v. United States but argued that some of its provisions should be upheld. The appeals court will now consider both oral arguments, which were held in March, and the new filings by the states and issue a ruling consistent with the Supreme Court's decision.

The Supreme Court's ruling in Arizona v. United States was the latest event in an ongoing power struggle between federal and state governments in dealing with the issue of illegal immigration. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website] said [press release; JURIST report] she is happy with the Supreme Court's decision and that she is confident future enforcement of the law will not violate the Constitution. The US Department of Justice [official website] urged [JURIST report] the Supreme Court not to hear the case on appeal in November. Arizona had asked the Supreme Court [JURIST report] to weigh in on the constitutionality of the law in August after the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] upheld a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] against it.

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