Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Federal Judge Thrash issued an injunction against the governor of Georgia to stop some of HB87's provisions from being implemented as unconstitutional. The decision explains that because the ACLU and the other Plaintiffs have proven that they are likely to win on the merits, and in order to preserve the status-quo, the injunction was granted against the state of Georgia.
In a 79-page decision, the judge issued an injunction against the state of Georgia from implementing sections 7 and 8 of HB87, which are the sections most important to individuals living in the state. The judge determined that both sections are pre-empted by federal law, meaning that is if there is a conflict between state and federal law, the federal law controls, and therefore unconstitutional as they clash with the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. constitution. The court rejected the State’s “gross hypocrisy” in claiming that the new law was meant to prevent exploitation of undocumented individuals and called out the true legislative intent, which is to create “a climate of hostility, fear, mistrust and insecurity” in Georgia.
Section 7 also known as the “harboring” section creates crimes in Georgia that replace and add to the language of the federal law section § 1324 (at 8 U.S.C.) with its own criminal provisions. The federal law only involves very specific situations of helping people to get into the country unlawfully (for example coyotes). But HB87’s section 7 also wants the police in Georgia to prosecute anyone who transports or houses an illegal alien, including U.S. citizen children who give rides to their undocumented parents, wives that live with their undocumented husbands, etc.
Section 8 also known as “show me your papers” created a state system for policing civil immigration offenses. It authorizes state and local police officers to check the immigration status of suspects where there is probable cause that the suspect has committed another crime (even a federal civil immigration violation or traffic offense like speeding).
Parts of the law that remain include the E-Verify provision requiring businesses and government agencies E-Verify to check the immigration status of new workers and the section that creates a new crime for people who use fake identification to obtain a job (imposing fines of up to $250,000 and 15 years in prison). Other provisions include requiring people applying for food stamps or public housing to provide specific forms of identification.
Governor Deal said the state would appeal the judge’s decision and that the federal government is an obstacle to the immigration problem. Yes, Governor Deal, you are right in that the federal government is an obstacle, but it is an obstacle to states writing up unconstitutional laws as it very well should be. Almost no one who is here illegally is able to just get a visa (that does not exist) and get into the U.S. legally. It is not an option. That is why there are so many people living here illegally. The Federal law needs to be fixed, that is clear, and states should stay out of immigration laws because they only make matters worse.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Breaking news: Judge Thrash just issued an injunction against the governor of Georgia to stop some of HB87's provisions from being implemented as unconstitutional. Most importantly, police will NOT be able to check for immigration documents come July 1 and the harboring provision is also blocked as unconstitutional.
I will blog in more detail tomorrow or Wednesday after I have a chance to read the judge Thrash's decision in full but here is one beautiful quote: The state's "... claim that the new criminal statutes will prevent exploitation of illegal aliens is gross hypocrisy. The apparent legislative intent is to create such a climate of hostility, fear, mistrust, and insecurity that all illegal aliens will leave Georgia”.


The Georgia Agribusiness Council is estimating that the state of Georgia might lose up to $1 Billion (!) if crops would not be picked and rot in the fields, or not be processed after they are picked, because of the HB87 induced farming job shortage. This figure only includes this season's fruit and vegetables, and does not not include cotton and pecans that are up next for harvest in our state's cycle. Republicans who voted for HB87 sure found a great way to increase the state's budget problems!

Friday, June 24, 2011


After Governor Deal had an idea to cover the farming labor shortage with unemployed ex-cons on probation (which he thought was a bright one but we all knew it was not) most of the workers are either refusing the jobs outright or quitting after a few hours or a few days. One farm reported that of a crew of 11 probationers who reported to work early Saturday, one left after only 45 minutes and only five returned to work a second day.
It's obvious the U.S. workers (even ones with less options) do not want to do farming jobs. It's been obvious for years but Republicans don't want to believe it.


2,000 drivers and cab companies from the metro Atlanta area hired a law firm to represent them in opposition of HB87. The cab drivers may be in jeopardy for arrest for harboring - transporting illegal immigrant while committing a crime (such as speeding for example). Penalty for harboring under HB87 is 15 years in prison. So it's not hard to understand why the taxi drivers are concerned. Even though transporting less than seven undocumented people is a misdemeanor, driving more than seven is a felony. Cab drivers do not want to be pulled over and have their passengers checked for immigration papers so they joined the suit. Judge Thrash please rule for the good side (and it is not Georgia)!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Mexico and 10 other countries from Latin America incuding Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru filed briefs in support of the Plaintiffs declaring HB87 unconstitutional.
Attorneys representing Mexico filed briefs challenging similar legislation in Arizona and Utah. The briefs argue that the immigration crackdown could jeopardize close ties between the U.S. and its Latin American neighbors.
Mexico argued that these measures would strain diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Mexico and the interests of the two countries and would encourage discrimination against its citizens in the U.S.
The Anti-Defamation League filed an amicus brief also in favor of Plaintiffs warning that the law could deter Latinos from reporting crimes and create an underclass vulnerable to increased hate crimes and violence. The American Immigration Lawyers Association also filed a brief in support of Plaintiffs claiming that the law forces police to make highly discretionary judgment calls about who to detain (and they are certainly not trained for that).
I am not sure what legal standing Mexico has but the other Plaintiffs in this case certainly can show imminent harm if the law is implemented, and we all hope judge Thrash issues the injunction and blocks the law. He does not have a lot of time to act as it goes into effect July 1.


Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and other state officials filed a motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU and other organizations against HB87. The law suit requested the federal court to declare parts of HB87 unconstitutional and to issue an injunction against it being implemented. The law was assigned to Judge Thomas Thrash, a Clinton appointee who has been known to rule from the bench and has on occasion arisen to declare Georgia law unconstitutional. So the Plaintiffs have hope.
Today arguments were heard in the court room on the motion to dismiss and on the injunctions that Plaintiffs seek. The motion to dismiss argues that the civil liberties groups lack standing and have failed to state a claim. It says the state should be immune from such lawsuits. Both are ridiculous statements. Another ridiculous arguments that the state's lawyers made were that the undocumented could simply legalize their status and would have no problems doing so (false) and to top it all they argued that the law is supposed to help undocumented immigrants! It was clear that the judge did not buy that blatant falsity.
Where is the federal government? It was so quick to intervene in Arizona and should have rightfully intervened in Georgia. But it did not intervene in Utah either where a similar law was enacted earlier this year. I really hope that judge Thrash does not buy the state measly excuses and declares the law unconstitutional because it is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has offered a creative idea to deal (pun intended) with our state's farm labor shortage caused by the new anti-immigrant law HB87. The state survey reported that more than 11,000 agricultural jobs remain vacant during the height of the fruit and vegetable picking season.
The agriculture industry is the highest revenue producer in Georgia (over $5 Billion) and Deal proposed that criminals on probation in Georgia can help with the shortage. It is estimated that out of Georgia’s 100,000 parolees on probation, 25 percent are unemployed.
I doube this solution will work because the state already experiences a very high unemployment rate of about 10% among the general population and the farming shortage continues. What would be the incentive for the probationers to do this work far from their homes?

Friday, June 10, 2011


A new report released by the Brookings Institution dispels the myth that all immigrants are unskilled, uneducated, and illegal. The Geography of Immigrant Skills: Educational Profiles of Metropolitan Areas, finds that the share of working-age immigrants in the United States who have at least a bachelor’s degree is greater than the share who lack a high-school diploma. Moreover, immigrants with college degrees outnumber immigrants without high-school diplomas by wide margins in more than two-fifths of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.
This is against the populist belief that immigrants are unskilled or undocumented by large. Actually, most of the immigrants are highly educated.
In 1980, only 19 percent of working-age immigrants in the United States had a college degree, while nearly 40 percent lacked a high-school diploma. By 2010, 30 percent had a college degree and only 28 percent lacked a high-school diploma.
In 44 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, immigrants with college degrees outnumber immigrants without high-school diplomas by at least 25 percent.
Despite popular perceptions, there are just as many high-skilled as low-skilled working-age immigrants currently living in the United States, and the growth rate of more educated arrivals to the United States now outpaces that of immigrants with little education.
The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA metropolitan area has a 13% immigrants in the workforce with a combined skill ratio of 119 (over 100 is good). The immigrant population for our metro area is at 713,333 with 152,799 low skilled immigrants, 238,983 with mid-skilled immigrants and 182,524 high skilled immigrants.
This is another proof that the real facts are often hidden in the immigration debate and we do need to get these things resolved in order to continue and enjoy high skilled immigrants.
The report is available at:

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Even before HB87 is going into effect on July 1, 2011, and even before the Federal Courts decide whether to stop many of its bad provisions from being implemented for unconstitutional grounds, many undocumented immigrants are leaving Georgia fearing the new immigration law will be implemented.
Some have a wait and see attitude while other people are trying to legalize their status (for more information on qualification, contacting our office would be a good start! 770-913-0800 or
Businesses that cater to immigrants are suffering because the law is scaring away their customers and employees. From grocery store to churches, organizations are suffering across the board. And it hasn't even started yet.
I received reports from hospitality businesses that have Hispanic workers that are putting in their notices and either left the states or about to leave the state.
Brace yourselves, it will get worse.


The Georgia Agribusiness Council says nearly half of the farmers it surveyed do not have enough workers to harvest their crops. The culprit? HB87. Even though it does not yet go into effect until July 1, farmers are experiencing severe labor shortages that they are unable to fill. Workers that have been available to them in the past are now leaving the state.
Agriculture experts seem to agree that migrant workers have skills and specific experience that are hard to replace even if local workers were available. Most of the time they are not because farm workers often move from place to place, harvesting crops as they ripen across multiple states. This does not appeal to most native born workers.
The governor ordered his own report on labor shortages for farmers -- due tomorrow. We'll wait and see.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Unintended (or maybe intended) consequences of HB87 is putting big strain on Georgia's agricultural businesses. Every spring migrant workers, many of whom undocumented immigrant pick fruits and vegetables in Florida and then move to Georgia and farther north. This year because of HB87 many workers are not coming to Georgia, fearing police racial profiling and being prosecuted for using fake work documents (with fines up to $250,000 and 15 years in prison, same as murder).
The growers will find it tough to get fruits and vegetables off the ground before they rot. The growers are only getting between 30 and 50 percent of the work crews that they need to get the crops in, according to Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. This association represents mostly medium- and large-size operations in the state's $1.1 billion fruit and vegetable business.
The legislation is just pushing people away, legal or not. The law is starting to have wide-range economic negative impacts - with a loss to the fruit and vegetable industry, that could total 25 percent to 30 percent of the annual this season - a cut of at least $250 million.
These economic giants need to put some public pressure on the elected representative come next time and not elect them (I mean those who supported HB87).


Just wanted to share with you all a link to a story that talks about Georgia and other states requiring employers to use E-Verify featuring yours truly.
The link is at:

Thursday, June 2, 2011


A coalition of civil rights groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit today against HB87 - Georgia's so called "Immigration Law" arguing among other issues that it is not constitutional.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, and argues that the Georgia law represents an unconstitutional interference with federal law, requires unreasonable searches of suspected illegal immigrants in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, not to mention turning Georgia into a police state.
The suit is spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Service Employees International Union, among other organizations.
The lawsuit targets the "Driving While Hispanic" portion of HB87, racial profiling and other constitutional challenges.
Next step is probably asking for an injunction against the law being implemented.
So far the federal government is taking its time.