By John Newton
La Voz Latina
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta gave state and local police the right to begin enforcing one of the most controversial parts of Georgia’s illegal immigration law (HB:87) last month.
This provision — also known as the “show-me-your-papers” law gives police the option to investigate the immigration status of criminal suspects who cannot provide identification or other information that could help police identify them. It enables police to detain people determined to be in the country illegally and take them to jail.
Several prominent Georgians who are advocates of comprehensive immigration reform spoke out in protest of the court’s ruling.
Charles Kuck, Atlanta immigration attorney: “The “Show Me Your Papers” provision will begin to be enforced (at least somewhere) in Georgia. Remember, Refuse to Answer Any Question about your immigration Status. Exercise your Right to remain silent on this question, and tell any officer who asks that you have a lawyer! This law will be as ineffective as the rest of HB 87.”
Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Georgia Association Of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO):“We are encouraging community members to not respond at all for any immigration status ques- tions from law enforcement, and we will be monitoring very closely how law enforcement offi- cials implement this around the state,” Gonzalez said. “The Supreme Court has left the door open for potential litigation if there is racial profiling, and we’re going to be looking very closely, so that should be a warning sign to law enforcement officials across the state.”
Azadeh N. Shahshahani,director of the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project for the ACLU of Georgia: “HB 87 promotes racial profiling by giving police officers discre- tion to determine what information is “sufficient” to prove a person’s identity and choose who to subject to an investigation. This will lead to the profiling of anyone who looks or sounds “foreign.”
The statute undermines fundamental American values of fairness and equal protection. The ACLU and our partner organizations will forge ahead until unconstitutional provisions of HB 87 are struck down — or until this racial profiling law is repealed in its entirety.”