Civil rights groups have filed an injunction to block a Georgia law that cracks down on illegal immigration. They’re asking a federal judge to halt the law before it goes into effect on July 1.
The groups are also asking the judge to expedite a hearing on a class-action lawsuit filed last week.
Atlanta attorney Charles Kuck is part of a broad coalition of opponents that includes the American Civil Liberties Union.
He says the law, known as House Bill 87, is unconstitutional for several reasons.
"HB 87 in its entirety violates the supremacy clause of the Constitution in that only Congress can regulate matters that relate to immigration," he said. "HB 87 violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and HB 87 violates the right to travel that’s in the Constitution for everyone who’s in the United States.”
The law will require many businesses to use a federal database known as E-Verify to verify that prospective workers are here legally. It also allows police to check the immigration status of some criminal suspects.
Georgia’s law is similar to an Arizona statute that a federal judge has halted in part, pending constitutional review.
A spokeswoman for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has said the authors of the law painstakingly crafted a bill that is constitutional. She declined to comment on the injunction, and referred questions to the attorney general's office.
A spokeswoman for the Attorney General told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday that the plaintiffs claims unfounded and said her office would vigorously defend the law in court.
“The request for an injunction is just another attempt by special interest groups to block a law which Georgia has every right to enforce,” Lauren Kane said.
Parts of the law go into effect on July 1. Other provisions will go into effect in phases, starting Jan. 1