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Georgia begins appeal after judge blocks parts of immigration law

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A judge's ruling blocks parts of the new immigration law
  • A spokeswoman says an appeal will be filed "in the coming days"
  • A class-action suit says the immigration law is unconstitutional
  • Georgia's attorney general "remains committed to defending" the law in court, she says

Atlanta (CNN) -- Attorneys representing Georgia said the state is asking an appeals court to overturn a judge's decision blocking several parts of the state's new immigration law.

State officials had previously pledged to appeal the ruling, but Tuesday's notice of appeal filed in U.S. District Court was the first formal step in the process.

"An appeal will be filed with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the coming days," said Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office, in a statement.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. issued a preliminary injunction last week temporarily blocking key provisions of the law, which aims to crack down on illegal immigration.

The sections, originally scheduled to go into effect July 1, would allow police to inquire about immigration status when questioning suspects in certain criminal investigations. They also would punish people who, during the commission of a crime, knowingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants. Something like speeding or driving without proper equipment could constitute a crime.

"The apparent legislative intent is to create such a climate of hostility, fear, mistrust and insecurity that all illegal aliens will leave Georgia," Thrash wrote in his ruling.

Plaintiffs in the class-action suit against the law have argued that it is unconstitutional.

But state officials have contended that the provisions in the new law, known as HB 87, are necessary steps to protect state resources.

"Attorney General (Sam) Olens remains committed to defending HB 87 in court," Kane's Tuesday statement said.

The Georgia lawsuit is the latest battle in a nationwide skirmish between state and federal officials over who controls immigration enforcement.

CNN's Gustavo Valdes contributed to this report.

 
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