Immigration Reform under Georgia State Law Takes a New Turn
Similar to Arizona and Alabama, Georgia passed an immigration law that allowed law enforcement authorities to check the immigration status of criminal suspects. However, a court injunction stopped the police from initially implementing the status check. The Jurist reports that the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia lifted the injunction, and its ruling was in sync with a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in August. Another part of the law the court struck down was the section that made harboring or helping an undocumented immigrant to remain in the U.S. a crime.
Now questions have arisen about how law enforcement officials plan to enforce the status checks. Under Georgia law, state officials can contact federal authorities to verify a person's legal status if they believe it is in question.
A Georgia newspaper, the Marietta Daily Journal interviewed the Cobb County Police Chief about how he planned to implement the status checks. The chief explained that no law exists that allows law enforcement to do status checks on witnesses or victims of a crime. Also, if the officer stopped you for speeding and you had a driver's license, the officer would not check for other papers. The issue would only arise when an arrest warrant is already issued or a crime is being investigated.
Immigration is still a changing legal area that varies from state to state in terms of how state authorities interact with federal authorities. If you live in New York and as an immigrant encounter a legal problem, especially one with criminal implications, consult a New York immigration lawyer. Protect your rights by getting legal help.