July 24, 2012
The ACLU Foundation of Georgia was joined by more than a dozen organizations today in issuing a letter to Immigration Enforcement Review Board (the Board) Chairman Benjamin J. Vinson laying out concerns with how the Board might apply the powers granted to it in the case ofMichael Dale Smith v. City of Vidalia. The letter emphasized that despite Mr. Smith’s allegations concerning Lark Industries and other businesses within the city of Vidalia, any investigation the Vidalia review panel conducts must be restricted to onlypublicentities. The letter questioned why a review panel was created to investigate Mr. Smith’s accusations against Vidalia in the first place when Board members have described his complaint as “vague” and lacking in rather important specific details such as names, dates, and locations. The letter asked for clarification as to how Mr. Smith’s complaint actually met theprima faciestandard that the Board’s rules require before a complaint may be considered by the Board. Finally, the letter requested explanation as to what authority the review panel possesses that allows it to investigate alleged violations of Georgia immigration laws that are said to have occurred before the creation of the Board, and what authority the Board possesses to potentially issue sanctions for violations that are found to have occurred prior to the Board’s creation.
“We are deeply concerned that following the Smith decision, the Board has authorized its complaint process to amount to what is essentially a fishing expedition,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU Foundation of Georgia.
The letter can be viewed here: http://www.acluga.org/files/2013/4313/9383/LettertoIERB7-24-2012.pdf