6/16/2011 6:14:00 AM,
Jacqueline J. Holness
ATLANTA (CN) - A civil rights group says President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have abdicated their constitutional duty to intervene and stop Georgia from enforcing its repressive immigration law, set to take effect July 1.
The group claims the administration knuckled under to political backlash from its efforts to help derail the unconstitutional Arizona immigration law, upon which Georgia's law was based.
The Association of Persons Concerned with HB 87, LLC also sued Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, in Federal Court.
"(T)he defendants, in response to the political backlash from its aforementioned actions in Arizona, have 'consciously and expressly adopted a general policy' of non-intervention on state encroachments upon its exclusive field of authority 'that is so extreme as to amount to an abdication of their respective duties.'"
The new complaint comes 2 weeks after the ACLU and other civil sued Gov. Nathan Deal, seeking to stop enforcement of the Georgia immigration bill, modeled on the Arizona whose key elements have been enjoined by a federal judge.
Plaintiffs in the new lawsuit seek to "compel the United States of America, and its Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to perform their nondiscretionary duty to intervene and oppose HB 87, a law recently enacted by the State of Georgia which usurps, interferes, violates and otherwise contravenes federal law in the field of immigration, and which, if allowed to become effective on July 1, 2011 would cause significant injury to the members of the plaintiff."
The plaintiff group describes itself as "mostly attorneys who represent immigrants, actual immigrants, and other civic organizations, who stand to be injured economically and non-economically by HB 87 if not enjoined before it takes effect on July 1, 2011."
HB 87 "authorizes state and local law enforcement officers to investigate the immigration status of individuals, and to arrest individuals on suspicion that they have violated federal immigration laws," according to the complaint.
Of particular concern to the plaintiffs is Section 8 of HB 87 which "provides that '[i]f ... a peace officer receives verification that [a] suspect is an illegal alien' during an investigation into his immigration status also provided for under this section, 'such peace officer may take any action authorized by state and federal law, including ... detaining such suspected illegal alien.'" (Brackets and ellipses in complaint.)
The plaintiffs say that HB 87 usurps federal power to create and enforce immigration law. The complaint cites the federal government's lawsuit against Arizona's similarly unconstitutional immigration law: "However, despite the circumstances in Arizona and Georgia being nearly identical, the defendants have arbitrarily and capriciously decided not to undertake the discrete and obligatory action of intervening in the courts to halt the implementation the State of Georgia's immigration law, HB 87- instead, leaving the enforcement of their solemn duties under statute and the U.S. Constitution to be performed by to be performed by third parties, such as the ACLU," the complaint states.
The group claims that political considerations cannot justify the Obama administration's abdication of its constitutional duties: "Such a policy is impermissible under federal law, as the immediate consequence is the destruction of the federal government's exclusivity and preemption in the field of immigration, as evidenced by the flood of similar laws since the defendants' failure to act in Georgia and Utah - e.g., Alabama's new measure."
The group claims the administration's failure to intervene in Georgia also violates the Immigration and National Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. It demands "the entry of an order requiring the defendants to intervene in the implementation of HB 87 in the appropriate court of law."
It is represented by Jerome Lee with Taylor Lee & Associates, or Norcross, Ga.