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Federal Courts Strike Yet Another Blow Against State Anti-Immigrant Laws in Georgia and Alabama

08/20/2012


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 20, 2012
CONTACT: Charles Monaco, Director of Communications and New Media, Progressive States Network, cmonaco@progressivestates.org

Progressive States Network: Federal Courts Strike Yet Another Blow Against State Anti-Immigrant Laws in Georgia and Alabama

 

New York, NY – Today, a federal district court in Atlanta struck down major provisions of state anti-immigrant laws in both Alabama and Georgia. Today's decisions, following June's Supreme Court decision striking down provisions of Arizona's SB 1070, send a strong warning to states considering similar measures. Progressive States Network’s Director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships, Suman Raghunathan, issued the following statement following today’s rulings:

Today's federal court rulings decisively struck down two divisive, impractical, and un-American provisions of anti-immigrant laws. They lent even more credence to the idea that these proposals not only make little sense and devastate communities and economies, they violate our rich history as a nation of laws and of immigrants.

The court struck down most of Alabama’s effort to go beyond Arizona’s extremist SB 1070. One piece of Alabama's anti-immigrant law (HB 56) required schools to serve as de facto immigration agents by checking the immigration status of students enrolled in the state's public schools: a provision that not only spread fear throughout immigrant communities, but also ran counter to our very core as a nation by targeting children.

A piece of Georgia's law (HB 87), which made it a state crime to travel in the same car as an undocumented resident, was also struck down. The decision not only reflects the reality of immigrant workers and residents living in our communities, but the myopia of this attempt to spread fear in communities as a means to address our nation's broken and outdated immigration system.

While the court did uphold troubling racial profiling provisions in both Alabama’s and Georgia’s laws, their rulings today -- the first such decisions to be issued after the Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona SB 1070 -- reinforce the reality that these state anti-immigrant laws are an expensive, misguided, and destructive overreach of states into federal immigration enforcement. The court’s decisions today should serve as yet another reminder to other states to not follow the unconstitutional and economically devastating path set by Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia. States like California, New York, Illinois, and many others have pursued a different approach – one that has served to expand their tax bases and economies by welcoming the contributions of immigrant workers and residents, and by encouraging talented immigrant students to pursue their dreams of higher education in-state and help their economies thrive into the future.

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State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy is a diverse group of state legislators, affiliated with Progressive States Network, who are advancing sensible and progressive approaches to immigration at the state level. These leaders, currently representing 38 states, are rejecting alarmist approaches to immigration in favor of one that reflects our core values as a nation of laws and as a nation of immigrants.

Progressive States Network (http://www.progressivestates.org) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the work of progressive state legislators around the country and to the advancement of state policies that deliver on the issues that matter to working families: integrating immigrants into our communities, strong wage standards and workplace freedom, balancing work and family responsibilities, health care for all, smart growth and clean energy, tax and budget reform, clean and fair elections, and technology investments to bridge the digital divide.

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