On the heels of the first-ever Senate hearing on the DREAM Act, six undocumented students were detained Tuesday in Atlanta during a protest against H.B. 87, Georgia’s immigration-enforcement law.
DREAM Activist — an undocumented students resource network — said in a press release issued Tuesday that “the youth aimed to take a stand against HB 87, a recently passed law modeled after Arizona’s SB1070 that would severely restrict and isolate the immigrant community within the state.”
The DREAM Act would grant people who entered the U.S. illegally before the age of 16 conditional permanent resident status for a period of six years, after which they would be eligible to become legal permanent residents if they obtain at least an associate-level college degree or serve in the military for two years.
“Protest organizers,” the release adds, “vow to continue taking action until states stop attempting to persecute undocumented immigrants and the federal government lays out a pathway to legal status.”
Mohammad Abdollahi of DREAM Activist recently told The Florida Independent that no one really knows how many DREAM Act eligible students are currently in the middle of deportation proceedings. He said his group’s biggest goal is to get the Obama administration to issue an executive order for deferred action for all DREAMers. Immigrant activists have called on the Obama administration to use its executive powers to implement deferred action on a case-by-case basis to stop deportations, which have reached record levels under the current administration.
Georgia’s H.B. 87 was signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal in May. Since Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration-enforcement bill was signed into law in 2010, Utah, Indiana and Alabama have also passed similar laws.
Early this month, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the Georgia measure.
The Immigration Policy Center reported Tuesday that a federal judge in Georgia granted a preliminary injunction against key provisions of the state’s immigration law, H.B. 87, which was slated to take effect Friday. The Policy Center adds that another federal court decision handed down last week in Indiana also blocked key provisions of that state’s new immigration law, S.B. 590.
The Alabama immigration-enforcement law (.pdf) requires the verification of the legal status of persons, makes the economic activity of unauthorized aliens illegal in the state, prohibits the hiring of unauthorized aliens, requires participation in the federal E-Verify program, and more. The Policy Center adds that, among the restrictive provisions, Alabama’s law requires public schools to determine the immigration status of students.
On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council approved a resolution condemning the state’s immigration law, and the ACLU announced it will also file a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s immigration law.
Alabama DREAM Act supporters sent a letter urging the Obama administration to immediately step in to prevent the implementation of the Alabama immigration-enforcement law.