Judge Thrash Blocks Georgia Immigration Law-FOR NOW

U.S District Judge Thomas Thrash issued an injunction against Governor Deal to halt the implementation of some of the provisions in the Georgia immigration law HB87 on the grounds that the harboring provision was unconstitutional and law enforcement will NOT be permitted to check immigration documents this July 1.

For many observers this action is considered a small victory, for those of us in Georgia who abhor the legislation we would argue it is “one giant leap for mankind.”

While Judge Thrash’s action made headlines today, the most interesting and provocative exchange was between the Judge and Devon Orland, the assistant attorney general defending the law.

Thrash: What does Governor Deal and the General Assembly say is the purpose of this? I mean, is it to drive illegal aliens out of Georgia? Is it to tell–send a message that illegal aliens are not to come to Georgia; if they are here, they are supposed to leave? What is this supposed to accomplish?
Orland: As we stated in our response to the preliminary injunction, the intent behind it is to avoid the continued public expenditure of funds for illegal immigrants. And, yes, that means that they–
Thrash: They are supposed to leave? They are all supposed to leave?
Orland: Ultimately, if they don’t, then they are still violating the law. They are just out of Georgia. But-
Thrash: So they are supposed to go somewhere else, all of them, with their husbands, their wives, their children, even though they may be U.S. citizens? All of them are supposed to go somewhere else, not come into Georgia; and those that are here are supposed to leave? Is that right?
Orland: Your Honor, they are here illegally. They need to either get here legally or they need to find a legal place to be.

It was reported that Governor Deal plans to appeal the ruling. “Gov. Deal is disappointed that the court enjoined two sections of Georgia’s immigration law,” spokesman Brian Robinson said. “The federal court’s ruling, however, will crystallize for Georgians and other Americans our underlying problem: Beyond refusing to help with our state’s illegal immigration problem, the federal government is determined to be an obstacle. The state of Georgia narrowly tailored its immigration law to conform with existing federal law and court rulings. Georgians can rest assured that this battle doesn’t end here; we will appeal this decision.”

The notion that Georgia or any state would address a federal issue like immigration through the states and local municipalities is a formula for failure. Judge Thrash addressed the absurd notion of addressing a federal solution through 3,077 counties in 50 states, “You are not going to have 50 systems of immigration regulation. In Georgia, you are going to have 159. Every county, every municipality is going to decide what its immigration policy is going to be under this law.” The law, which was to take effect July 1, is believed to have already lead thousands of migrant workers to flee the state. The misguided legislation was scheduled to be implemented this week, but there doesn’t seem to have been a clear plan to address the impact of the immigration law without the migrant workforce. Georgians are seeing the first fallout from that decision in the loss of over $300 million in agricultural revenue.



  1. Burroughston Broch says: