Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights Condemns Gov. Nathan Deal's Signing of HB 87

[The following statement was released May 13 by Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR]

The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, the state’s leading grass roots immigrant rights organization, condemns Gov. Nathan Deal’s decision to sign HB 87 into law.

This action is not only an insult to the Latino community and other immigrants, but is also an exercise in cheap political pandering that will cost our state dearly.

GLAHR is advising the Latino community not to panic. This is not the end of the battle, only the beginning of a new stage. This law can and must be fought; and it can and will be defeated.

State and local laws in the immigration field are routinely struck down by the courts if they deviate from what the federal government has decided because only the federal government is empowered to set policy in this field.

In the case of Arizona, the main provisions of last year’s notorious SB-1070 were enjoined by a federal judge pending disposition of the lawsuit charging that the law is unconstitutional. That injunction was recently upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

GLAHR will coordinate with other civil and human rights organizations to make sure that HB 87 is challenged in court. We cannot be certain that the judge who hears this case will grant a preliminary injunction against HB 87, but we think it is likely.

We do not know whether the Federal Government will join in challenging the law in court, but President Obama has criticized the bill for overstepping the limits of Georgia’s law-making powers. And in addition to the lawsuits, GLAHR is launching the Georgia Human Rights Summer. Organizers will fan out to Latino communities throughout the state in a campaign of education, community organizing and mobilizations. And the Human Rights Summer will continue whatever the fate of HB 87 in the courts, because the defeat of HB 87 is not our only goal.

Another immediate target is the federal government’s “secure communities” program, which instead of deporting dangerous criminals as was promised, is breaking up families all over the country with the deportation of people who have very minor offenses, even just traffic violations, or no criminal record at all.

And we will continue to fight for our main goal, a comprehensive immigration reform that legalizes millions of people whose only crime has been to flee from hunger and misery hoping to find a better life for themselves and their children.

Upcoming GLAHR activities

June-July: Georgia Human Rights Summer (Justice Schools and Community Organizing throughout the state).

May 22: Women's Walk in Defense of Immigrant Families (Against the breaking up of families through the 287(g) and "secure communities" programs, which lead to arbitrary deporgtations). Meet at Centennial Olympic Park, 10 AM. Wear a white t-shirt or shirt. The Walk is for women and children, including boys.

July 1: Day of Non-Compliance with HB 87 (No work, no school, no shopping.

July 2: March and Rally against HB 87 (Downtown Atlanta; details to be announced. GLAHR is inviting people from throughout the southeast to mobilize for this march.

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