U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash. Jr. blocked two controversial sections of Governor Nathan Deal’s new immigration policies.
The bill, HB 87, would have gone into effect Friday, July 1.
In a recent story on Hispanic congregations in Snellville, it was discussed how local Snellville congregations have already been affected by Gov. Deal's policies.
The ACLU and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights brought the issue to court, declaring the laws unconstitutional.
According to the civil action file, section 8 of the bill “authorizes Georgia law enforcement officers to investigate the immigration status of criminal suspects where the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect committed another criminal offense.”
If an immigrant does not have proper documentation on him, the police officer would have been able to detain him and place him in jail, or report him to the Department of Homeland Security.
That section was blocked.
Additionally, section 7, which would penalize anyone “transporting, moving, concealing or harboring illegal aliens,” was blocked. A fine of up to $250,000 would have been imposed.
You can read the civil suit in its entirety here.
The Chief of Police of Uvalda, Georgia, issued a statement in the civil suit that HB 87 “is not going to make anyone safer or bring more jobs to Georgia. HB 87 is going to bankrupt small towns like Uvalda because in practice it will divert scarce manpower and fiscal resources to detaining and jailing law abiding people that are a part of our community just because the lack the proper identification documents.”
He finished his statement with, “I believe our borders should be secured, but I do not think that HB 87 or police officers acting as immigration officers will make Georgia any safer.”
"This is definitely a victory for all Georgians who care about civil liberties," said Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security and Immigrant Rights Project Director at the Georgia ACLU, which brought the injunction to the court on behalf of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights.
The ACLU considers the today's news a victory, saying that the core provisions of the law are now blocked. Shahshahani said that the law's potential to penalize people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants is a "provision to penalize acts of charity and kindness."
"This is going to bring a huge sense of relief for the immigrant community," she said.
Rep. Brett Harrell could not be reached immediately for comment.