Georgia cops can ask for immigration papers

AFP Photo / Frederic J. Brown
Here’s a new slogan that officials at the tourism bureau for the state of Georgia may want to consider adopting: show us your papers, too!

A federal appeals court has ruled that law enforcement officers in Georgia can run checks to verify the citizenship of any persons suspected of a crime if they fail to provide identification themselves.

The decision was handed down Monday afternoon by a three-judge panel presiding over the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. They reversed an earlier decision from a lower court that blocked a provision in the state’s 2011 immigration law that limited officers from doing as such.

The panel did not touch on an earlier injunction that prevents the state from prosecuting certain individuals charged with harboring or transporting an illegal immigrant, as Monday’s ruling applied only to preliminary injunctions made in the case.

The court’s failure to remove this and other injunctions has been hailed by opponents of the law entirely who see this as a sign that further action could arise across the country.

"I think it's a strong sign that all the state harboring laws will go down," American Civil Liberties Union attorney Omar Jadwat tells the Associated Press.

Supporters of the bill, however, are saying that Monday’s appeals court decision is a victory for the anti-illegal immigration movement as a whole.

"Just as we were pleased when the US Supreme Court upheld one of the center pieces of the Arizona law … we are pleased that the 11th Circuit has upheld a similar provision in our Georgia law," Republican State Rep. Matt Ramsey adds to the AP.