Protesters Rally Against Georgia Immigration Law

This Fourth of July weekend, it’s important to remember that one of our most important rights as Americans is the ability to publicly dissent.  Thousands of people exercised this right outside in downtown Atlanta today, rallying against the state’s new immigration law, HB 87, which would attempt to crack down on illegal immigration.  Earlier this week, a judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking parts of the legislation, while allowing other elements to go forward.  While some of HB 87′s most controversial elements consequently did not go into effect, people still descended on the state capital, showing their unhappiness with a law that creates a climate of hostility toward immigrants.

“I have family who are not residents,” said one woman, who is a legal resident in the United States but nevertheless sees herself as allied with those are in the country without documentation. “I am together with the Latin people. I love Georgia. I have stayed here for 18 years. I want to buy a house here.”

Another legal resident, a college student at Emory who was born in China, said that she was there because HB 87 can be seen as an attack on the rights, not just of Latinos, but “all non-American people.”  She added, ”We are the same community.  We have to fight for our rights.”

The law, in its original form, would have empowered police officers to check on the immigration status of people who couldn’t provide the correct documentation.  It would also have penalized people who willingly harbor or transmit illegal immigrants while committing another crime, like speeding or driving without the proper equipment.  These provisions were blocked on Monday by a federal judge who said that the state is enforcing immigration law that should be left to the federal government.

But other elements of the law went into effect on Friday, including a measure which makes it a felony to falsify documentation during a job application procedure, and another which requires people to obtain certain kinds of identification while applying for public benefits.

While the display of solidarity in Atlanta today was inspirational, it’s also a reminder of the scope of the struggle for fair immigration policy.  Georgia is just one of a growing handful of states which is cracking down on undocumented immigrants, and the stage is being set for a struggle between federal and state officials about who controls immigration enforcement.  The important thing to take away from the rally is that measures like these affect innumerable people who contribute, economically and socially, to our country’s fabric.

Photo from Takomabibelot’s Flickr photostream.


LMj Sunshine

Thank you for article.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you for article.

Veronica C.
Veronica C.5 years ago

It's just so much easier to make a sign and make demands in the streets than it is to enter a country legally.

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B.5 years ago

Very interesting comments.

Frank S.
Frank S.5 years ago

Looks like there are far more sensible people in America than nutty tea party people and republicans. At least their states economies won't have to be going down the toilet the way Arizona's is presently heading.

CAP brief shows the high costs of state immigration enforcement laws
By Nicolas Mendoza | 07.05.11 | 5:57 pm

"Research conducted by Arizona-based economists for the Center for American Progress found that anti-Arizona sentiment resulted in a major hit to the tourist industry, with significantly decreased wages, lodging revenue, and tourist dollars. These losses have already totaled at least $141 million … Fewer tourists has meant that an incredible 2761 jobs, $253 million in economic output, and $9.4 million in tax revenues have disappeared, with the potential for far worse results in the future."

Vince D.
Vince D.5 years ago

The New York Times is very biased in favor of open borders. That “news” paper is best left to the bottom of a bird cage. That article is not news, but an opinion, and purely advocacy journalism. It is full of disinformation and fear mongering. I guess Fox “news’ needs a counter-balance.

We do not have to round up and deport the 12-20 million illegals. We simply have to turn off the magnets that draw them here. That would be jobs, and benefits including “birthright citizenship” .

There are mandatory E-Verify bills working their way through congress as we speak. E-Verify can put 7-8 million US citizens and legal immigrants back to work at almost zero cost. With no jobs, most of the illegals will self-deport. It’s already working in AZ as many illegals have left the state.

It seems that even Obama is starting to realize that most citizens want our laws enforced. He actually refused to promise a veto of an E-Verify bill if one gets to his desk. Smart man!

Steven Hemstreet
Steven Hemstreet5 years ago

Illegal is illegal - Go Georgia!!! People need to understand that as long as we have 9% unemployment illegal immigrants are taking jobs that can be filled by the unemployed!

Frank S.
Frank S.5 years ago

According to this New York Times Editorial, trying to deport 11 million people is lunacy! Well, no one ever said, that the people in the anti-immigration movement were all there,lol!


It Gets Even Worse
Published: July 3, 2011

"Congress’s inaction has let the states run amok with their own destructive ideas. Supporters insist they are only trying to enforce the law. But trying to catch and deport 11 million people is lunacy. The damage to this country — its citizens and its laws — is enormous."-

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K.5 years ago

Not to mention Central America, and the "other" North America.

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K.5 years ago

Steve R.

While you are going on lecturing people about the difference between immigrants, undocumented illegals, etc., let me correct you.

Mexicans are Americans. South Americans.
We in the United States are North Americans.

We do not own the word American.

And your condescending "dear Amelia", makes you sound like a dick.