Judge expects ruling soon on Ga. immigration law

Miguel Martinez/Associated Press
Omar Jadwat with the American Civil Liberties Union, comments on the hearing in Atlanta on Georgia's new Immigration Law. Jadwat argued the law is fundamentally unconstitutional and infringes on federal authority.
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ATLANTA --- Civil liberties groups argued Monday that Georgia's law cracking down on illegal immigration should not take effect until a lawsuit challenging it as unconstitutional is resolved, and a judge said he likely would rule on that request before the law takes effect.

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Eva Cardenas, a community organizer who works for Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, marched with  protesters in front of the federal courthouse  in Atlanta on Monday.   Miguel Martinez/Associated Press
Miguel Martinez/Associated Press
Eva Cardenas, a community organizer who works for Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, marched with protesters in front of the federal courthouse in Atlanta on Monday.

The lawsuit asks a judge to find the law unconstitutional and to prevent its enforcement. U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash, who was appointed to the bench by President Clinton, also heard arguments from a lawyer for the state, who said the lawsuit should be dismissed. Thrash repeatedly questioned Senior Assistant Attorney General Devon Orland, with the exchange sometimes bordering on testy.

Omar Jadwat, of the American Civil Liberties Union, argued the law is fundamentally unconstitutional and infringes on federal authority, while Orland said the measure is needed because medical facilities and prisons are being strained by illegal immigrants.

Karen Tumlin, from the National Immigration Law Center, said the possible harm the law could inflict on people and organizations is greater than any harm done to the state without the law, so it should be blocked until the courts rule on the merits of the legal challenge.

At the end of the hearing, Thrash said he needs more time to consider the arguments because the legal and constitutional issues at play are complex. He expects to decide on the issue before July 1, when most parts of the law take effect.

"We're optimistic," Jadwat said after the hearing. "The judge seemed to grasp a lot of the practical problems posed by this law."

The attorney general's office said it's waiting for the judge's ruling and declined to comment.

The measure authorizes law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of suspects who cannot provide identification and to detain and hand over to federal authorities anyone found to be in the country illegally. It also penalizes people who, while committing another crime, knowingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants, and makes it a felony to present false documents or information when applying for a job.

During the hearing, Thrash on more than one occasion told Orland not to interrupt him and said she wasn't answering his questions.

The judge expressed concern that the new law allows individual jurisdictions too much discretion, in effect creating a different policy in every county. He also questioned the motive behind the law. Orland responded that it was to prevent the state from continuing to spend money on illegal immigrants.

Thrash later questioned provisions dealing with people who harbor or transport illegal immigrants, raising a hypothetical scenario of an 18-year-old U.S. citizen who gets pulled over for speeding while driving his mother, an illegal immigrant, to the store.

"It would be no different if his mother had pockets full of cocaine and he was knowingly transporting her to go sell it," Orland said, later adding: "Sometimes the law is harsh. There is no question about that. That does not make it unconstitutional."

Orland also said that other parts of the law would actually protect illegal immigrants from exploitation and that parts of the state policy mirror federal immigration law.

Jadwat argued that the state isn't mirroring federal law because the Georgia law gives local officers such broad enforcement discretion, and that the state is not authorized to enforce certain parts of federal law.

Georgia's law has provisions similar to those in laws enacted in Arizona, Utah and Indiana.

A federal judge blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona's law last year after the U.S. Department of Justice sued, arguing that only the federal government can regulate immigration. A federal appeals court judge upheld the decision, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has said she plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A federal judge also has temporarily blocked Utah's law, citing similarities to the most controversial parts of Arizona's law. A hearing is set for mid-July to determine whether the law can take effect. In Indiana, a federal judge on Monday heard arguments on whether that state's law can take effect next month. That judge listened to the arguments and said she'd rule before the law is set to take effect July 1.

Another section of the Georgia law set to be phased in starting in January will require many businesses to check the immigration status of new hires. A separate Arizona law with the same requirement was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Sweet son
13417
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Sweet son 06/20/11 - 06:18 pm
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0
bill clinton's judge, the

bill clinton's judge, the aclu, a woman named karen and a guy named jadwat; it all sounds like a cluster! Hope I can say that! Once again, I have no problem with legal aliens! They are the only ones who will really work!

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 06/20/11 - 06:59 pm
0
0
Having recently been through
Unpublished

Having recently been through the "Legal" process of immigration I can understand why we have so many illegals now. I am an American trying to bring a foreign fiance over. After spending $700.00 on a 5 minute interview and the bogus lies American people told her they denied her entry to the US. I ask why, and they basically say none of your business why. Now I have to wait for an investigation. The illegals understand the corruption of the immigration system and come illegally in hope that some buffoon in Washington will grant them amnesty. Why do we have so many illegals? Because of the American government!

Sweet son
13417
Points
Sweet son 06/20/11 - 07:53 pm
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Good comment nothin!

Good comment nothin!

faithson
5916
Points
faithson 06/20/11 - 09:21 pm
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This is American jurist

This is American jurist prudence in action. How can any good American not want the constitutionality of these kind of laws dealt with. Just because the GA. general assembly passed the law and Gov. Deal signed it, doesn't make it constitutional. Those this law effects, legal or not, have a right to their day in court... that is unless you believe in fascist authoritarianism, which many on these boards seem to agree with considering they would prefer a complete 'one party' state.

allhans
25529
Points
allhans 06/20/11 - 10:57 pm
0
0
Trying to make something

Trying to make something legal that is illegal....well, nuf said. That is exactly what is wrong in the world now. It's do what you want to do, and to heck with laws.
Shame on those that had a home but left it, broke the law and is taking from the needy in this country. America doesn't have enough folks with jobs to support their own now, where will it end. I guess a swap might work.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 06/21/11 - 04:09 am
0
0
AMNESTY for ALL criminals.

AMNESTY for ALL criminals. ALL laws are just plain silly and based on HATE alone. We need to do away with ALL laws and depend on everyone's good nature and honor to do the right thing. Look at the $ that would be saved on law enforcement and prisons. Imagine a world where NOTHING is illegal-OH HAPPY DAY!

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 06/21/11 - 08:05 am
0
0
Arresting and sending people
Unpublished

Arresting and sending people back who came here illegally isn't illegal. Many states are having to put laws into effect because our Federal Government isn't doing their job and sending illegals back. The one not being constitutional here is the Federal Government. Then the Fed's have the audacity to sue states for enacting laws that are on the Federal Governments books. What about the law biding people who are trying to come here legally, spend thousands of dollars in doing so and still get denied because an agent just doesn't feel right about it.

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 06/21/11 - 08:10 am
0
0
Our Federal Government is
Unpublished

Our Federal Government is bringing in a thousand Haitian refugees a week and they are going onto welfare as soon as they get here. These people go to the front of the line when they send their application in for free. For an American to send in an application to sponsor another person they have to pay $455.00 just to process the application after the free Haitian refugee's application is processed for free. Why do you think that is? Votes! Democratic Votes!

allhans
25529
Points
allhans 06/21/11 - 09:11 am
0
0
You can't blame the

You can't blame the Democrats, without the votes of minorities they would no longer exist.

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