As Attorney General Sam Olens points out, in the aftermath of U.S. District Judge Tom Thrash’s ruling, 21 of 23 sections of Georgia’s new illegal immigration law remain intact and go into effect on Friday.
Other victories for the state side of the argument include the judge’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ assertions that the law would violate a citizen’s right to travel.
However, it’s clear that Thrash is no fan of the core thought behind the bill. Here’s what he said about the key portion of the Georgia law — which he enjoined — that permits law enforcement officers to require proof of legal U.S. residency after individuals have been stopped for other purposes:
”HB 87 is state regulation of immigration. Section 8 attempts an end-run – not around federal criminal law – but around federal statutes defining the role of state and local officers in immigration enforcement….[B]oth the United States government and several foreign nations have expressed concern about the international relations impact of HB 87.
“In reference to HB 87, the President of the United States stated that “[i]t is a mistake for states to try to do this piecemeal. We can’t have 50 different immigration laws around the country.”…Mexico has also filed an amicus brief registering its concern that HB 87 will impede bilateral negotiations, hinder trade and tourism, and damage diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico….
“These international relations underscore the conflict between HB 87 and federal immigration law. The conflict is not a purely speculative and indirect impact on immigration. It is direct and immediate…..”
Trash also applied the injunction to the portion of the law that criminalizes the transporting and harboring of illegal immigrants:
”Defendants wildly exaggerate the scope of the federal crime of harboring….when they claim that the Plaintiffs are violating federal immigration law by giving rides to their friends and neighbors who are illegal immigration. This is a good reason to require supervision of any attempts by Georgia to enforce illegal immigration law…..”
And there’s this general defense of federal immigration practices:
”The widespread belief that the federal government is doing nothing about illegal immigration is the belief in a myth. Although the Defendants characterize federal enforcement as “passive,” that assertion has no basis in fact. On an average day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrest approximately 816 aliens for administrative immigration violations and remove approximately 912 aliens, including 456 criminal aliens, from the United States….In 2010, immigration offenses were prosecuted in federal court more than any other offense….”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider