U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. has made a decision by issuing a preliminary injunction on two key provisions of H.B. 87, the new Georgia Immigration Reform Law.
Sections 7 and 8 of HB 87 were blocked by the ruling, thus disallowing state and law enforcement officers and officials from arresting, detaining or prosecuting anyone under the law. The provisions, if given effect, would allow police officers to interrogate suspects about their immigration status and imprison those transporting and harboring illegal immigrants, which are Secs. 7 and 8 respectively.
On the other hand, the decision of the judge allowed twenty-one (21) other provisions of the law to become effective as scheduled. The judge though was very clear, stating, “The Defendant’s claim that the new criminal statutes (sections 7 and 8 ) would prevent exploitation of illegal aliens is gross hypocrisy. The apparent legislative intent is to create such a climate of hostility, fear, mistrust and insecurity that all illegal aliens will leave Georgia.”
He added, “The Defendants wildly exaggerate the scope of federal crime of harboring under Sec 1324 when they claim that the Plaintiffs are violating federal immigration law by giving rides to their friends and neighbors who are illegal aliens. This is a good reason to require federal supervision of any attempts by Georgia to enforce federal immigration law.”
On the part of the Defendant’s, Gov. Nathan Deal issued a statement saying that they are “disappointed.” The governor’s deputy chief of staff for communications added, “Curiously, the court writes ‘all illegal aliens will leave Georgia’ if the law is enforced, as if it is appalled at the thought of people attaining visas before coming to our nation.”