[gpga-news] CNN: Thousands protest new Georgia immigration law

Hugh Esco hesco@greens.org
Sat, 2 Jul 2011 23:12:01 -0400


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Thousands protest new Georgia immigration law

(CNN) -- Thousands of people rallied in downtown Atlanta Saturday
against a new law that aims to crack down on illegal immigration in
Georgia.

Marchers carried signs reading "This is Not My Georgia" and "Brown is
Beautiful."

Capitol Police estimated between 10,000 and 15,000 people took part in
the rally and march.

The protest was organized by several groups, including the Georgia
Latino Alliance for Human Rights.

"These people work very, very hard," attendee Gigi Penaflower told CNN
affiliate WSB. "They get paid less than the minimum wage; they stay
quiet about it because it was their only choice. They come here to work
basically. They come here to work."

There were no incidents or arrests. Fifteen people were treated for
heat-related issues, according to Gordy Wright, spokesman for the state
Department of Public Safety

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday temporarily
blocking key provisions of HB 87 while allowing other parts to go
forward.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr.'s ruling blocks enforcement of
two of the most controversial sections of the law.

"State and local law enforcement officers and officials have no
authorization to arrest, detain or prosecute anyone based upon sections
7 and 8 of HB 87 while this injunction remains in effect," Thrash ruled.

Those sections would allow police to inquire about immigration status
when questioning suspects in certain criminal investigations. They also
would punish people who, during the commission of a crime, knowingly
transport or harbor illegal immigrants. Speeding or driving without
proper equipment could constitute a crime.

"The apparent legislative intent is to create such a climate of
hostility, fear, mistrust and insecurity that all illegal aliens will
leave Georgia," Thrash wrote.

State officials vowed to appeal the rulings on sections 7 and 8.

A part of the law that did go into effect is a provision that workers
convicted of using fake identification to get jobs could be sentenced
to 15 years in prison and fined $250,000. The law will also require
people applying for public benefits to provide certain types of
identification.

The office of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who supports the law, vowed to
continue the fight.

"Beyond refusing to help with our state's illegal immigration problem,
the federal government is determined to be an obstacle. The state of
Georgia narrowly tailored its immigration law to conform with existing
federal law and court rulings," said Brian Robinson, the governor's
deputy chief of staff for communications. "Georgians can rest assured
that this battle doesn't end here."

Teodoro Maus, president of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human
Rights, said the "moment a person is 'tagged' as "illegal, (it)
demerits their dignity as human beings."

The Georgia lawsuit is the latest battle in a nationwide skirmish
between state and federal officials over who controls immigration
enforcement.

Arizona's controversial law aimed at cracking down on illegal
immigration catapulted the issue onto the national stage last year,
drawing a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice, which argues the
law is unconstitutional.

In April, a three-judge panel on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
sided with the Justice Department and against Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer,
who signed Arizona's law last year. Brewer announced last month that
the state would appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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