Judge Will Hear Arguments To Delay Immigration Law

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ATLANTA - A federal judge has decided he will hear arguments on a request to stop Georgia's controversial immigration law from taking effect next month.

Channel 2's Manuel Bojorquez went to the Fulton County Courthouse on Friday, where the judge set a date – of June 20 -- to consider arguments for and against the law, also known as HB 87. The state will argue the law is sound and should take effect July 1, but opponents will ask the judge to delay it until another lawsuit over the law's constitutionality is resolved.

A group of attorneys representing a coalition against the law, including the American Civil Liberties Union, were pleased to hear their side will be heard in court. Each side will have an hour to present its case.

"The law is unconstitutional in several ways, including the fact that it violates the fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure," said the ACLU's Omar Jadwat.

The law gives police authority to check the legal status of certain suspects. In federal court, the state's attorney argued that is not unreasonable, since the person has to be suspected of another crime first. But opponents said some crimes don't merit that type of response.

"You have to understand that another crime in Georgia can include any kind of traffic offense. It can include jaywalking. Those are not things that ordinarily we think of as crimes that would cause you to be someone that the state should be demanding papers from and verifying their status," Jadwat said.

According to proponents, the law is necessary in order to deal with illegal immigration's drain on Georgia. The law's author, state Rep. Matt Ramsey, of Peachtree City, told Channel 2 he expected the challenges, but believes that in the end, the courts will rule that the law is legally sound.