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.