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Washington, DC — August 30, 2011

Judicial Watch, the organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that on August 22, 2011, it filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit defending the State of Georgia’s immigration law, known as the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 (IIREA). The case is on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, which enjoined Sections 7 and 8 of the new law, ruling that these provisions were preempted by federal law (Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, et al., vs. Nathan Deal, et al. (No. 11-13044-C)).
Section 7 of Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 prohibits three types of violations by persons who have previously committed a separate criminal offense: 1) knowingly and intentionally transporting or moving an illegal alien to further the illegal’s stay in Georgia; 2) knowingly concealing, harboring, or shielding an illegal alien from detection in Georgia; and 3) inducing, enticing, or assisting an illegal alien to enter into Georgia.Section 8 of the law authorizes a peace officer (local law enforcement) to verify the immigration status of any suspect the officer has probable cause to believe has committed a criminal violation. If the suspect is determined to be an illegal alien, the officer may detain and arrest the subject if doing so authorized by Georgia and federal law.According to Judicial Watch’s amicus brief, the District Court erred in its June 27, 2011 decision. The IIREA is consistent with federal law, the “historic police powers of the States,” and is supported by well-established court precedent:

In sum, rather than regulating immigration, the State of Georgia has merely invoked its well-established police power and codified the inherent, well-established investigatory powers of state and local police officers. Moreover, in doing so, it relied entirely on federal immigration standards and the federal government’s determination of whether a person is lawfully present in the United States.

“The State of Georgia has the legal right and constitutional authority to protect its citizens against crimes associated with illegal immigration,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Georgia’s new law gives Georgia law enforcement modest new tools to combat sex trafficking, the drug trade, black-market labor, and gang violence. The Obama administration’s refusal to enforce our immigration law is a crisis and has forced the hand of states such as Georgia. We have a president who has not only failed to address the illegal immigration crisis at the federal level, but actively attacks states for merely trying to protect their citizens. We hope the appellate court pushes back against the Obama administration’s dangerous contempt for the rule of law.”Judicial Watch has been at the forefront of supporting the efforts of states to enforce laws against illegal immigration. Judicial Watch is representing the Arizona State Legislature and Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce against a Justice Department legal challenge of Arizona’s SB 1070.

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