In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 87, an immigration bill that was unfortunately inspired by Arizona's notorious S.B .1070, a bill that recently saw three out of four of its provisions struck down by the Supreme Court. H.B. 87 is most well known for its "Show me your papers" provision, which allows officers to demand citizenship documentation during even routine traffic stops. The bill does not stop there though. It also criminalizes daily interactions with undocumented individuals and makes it much more difficult for individuals without certain identification documents to access state services.

Much like with the Arizona law, the Constitutional issues created by this bill are plentiful. First, the bill attempts to regulate immigration at a state level despite the fact that the Constitution's supremacy clauase and the interpretation of the courts both articulate that this is a strictly federal function. The creation of new misdemeanor and felony charges for transporting or harboring illegal immigrants undoubtedly conflicts with existing federal law and unconstitutionally delegates too much power to state and local enforcement agents.

Second, the bill raises 4th Amendment concerns about the possible detentions resulting from the enforcement of this law. For instance, the bill authorizes officers to investigate any person's immigration status if they are stopped but cannot provide a proper state-identification document. In this sense, the bill has concerning implications not only for drivers that may not be carrying licenses (which is not justification within itself for checking a person's immigration status), but also passengers and pedestrians who are not required to carry I.D. of any form but nonetheless may be investigated if an officer stops them. As an offshoot of this concern, there is also the likelihood that the bill will lead to the police racially profiling in an attempt to enforce the new laws. Racially profiling violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the due process clauses of the 5th and 14th Amendments.

Finally, the bill also carries with it conflicts with the court-recognized "right to travel" and the Georgia Constitution's Separation-of-Powers safeguards. Overall, the bill is rife with provisions that will effectively lessen the civil liberties of our society.

It is due to all of these issues that on June 2nd, 2011, the ACLU of Georgia, along with the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Asian Law Caucus filed a lawsuit on behalf of many organizations and individual plaintiffs to challenge the constitutionality of the law.

This case is currently at the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. On June 27th, 2011, the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found in the ACLU of Georgia's favor and placed a preliminary injunction against sections 7 and 8 of H.B. 87. This decision was appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which was going to wait until after the Supreme Court of the United States reviewed Arizona's SB 1070 to issue a decision. On June 25th, the Supreme Court struck down three out of the four challenged provisions of Arizona's immigration law. We are now confidently waiting for the decision of the Court of Appeals.

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