A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia [official website] on Monday lifted a preliminary injunction [order, PDF] blocking part of a Georgia immigration law that allows law enforcement officers to ask about immigration status when questioning suspects in criminal investigations. Judge Thomas Thrash's order is in line with an August ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website], which upheld [JURIST report] that provision of the law, but it remains to be seen how police will enforce the provision [AJC report]. The Eleventh Circuit also struck down a portion of Georgia's immigration law known as Section 7, which makes it a crime for anyone to harbor an undocumented immigrant or help an undocumented immigrant remain in the US. A full legal challenge to the constitutionality of the law could take several years.
Immigration law [JURIST backgrounder] has became a hot button issue over the past few years as many states have passed laws giving state and local officials more power to crack down on illegal immigration. Last month the Eleventh Circuit refused [JURIST report] Alabama's request to reconsider its ruling partially striking down that state's immigration law. Earlier in November a judge for the US District Court for the District of South Carolina [official website] upheld [JURIST report] part of South Carolina's controversial immigration law [SB 20 materials] that permits law enforcement officials to detain motorists on the side of the road for a "reasonable amount of time" while the officer checks the driver's immigration status. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] in September denied a request for a new injunction against a controversial provision of Arizona's immigration law [SB 1070, PDF] which requires law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of persons they stop or arrest if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the US illegally. In August the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] again heard arguments [JURIST report] on two anti-illegal immigrant laws enacted in 2006 by the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which deny permits to businesses that employ illegal immigrants and fine landlords who extend housing to them.