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Parts of Ga. immigration law blocked

Associated Press / June 28, 2011

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ATLANTA — A federal judge yesterday temporarily blocked parts of Georgia’s strict new law targeting illegal immigration from taking effect, including a provision that authorizes police to check the immigration status of suspects without proper identification and to detain illegal immigrants.

Georgia’s measure is the latest in a string of state laws that have been at least temporarily stopped by legal challenges. All or parts of similar laws in Arizona, Utah, and Indiana also have been blocked by federal judges.

Judge Thomas Thrash also granted a request from civil liberties groups to block a part of Georgia’s law that penalizes people who willingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants while committing a crime.

“The defendants wildly exaggerate the scope of the federal crime of harboring under [the law] when they claim that the plaintiffs are violating federal immigration law by giving rides to their friends and neighbors who are illegal aliens,’’ he said.

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said his office plans to appeal the ruling.

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