The law allows the police to check the immigration status of certain suspects

December 14, 2012, 3:40 p.m.

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December 14, 2012 ?? – Georgia law enforcement agencies can begin enforcing the “Show me your papers” portion of the state’s immigration law after a judge overturned an injunction against it.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the law allows the police to review the immigration status of certain suspects and arrest those they believe are illegal in the country. The police have the ability to investigate the immigration status of suspects who they believe have committed state or federal crimes and who are unable to provide the police with ID or other information to tell the police who they are.

Critics have said that this law and similar ones – Arizona has a similar practice – leads to racial profiling, but proponents argue that it protects taxpayers’ resources by ousting undocumented immigrants from Georgia who could use state resources, and state that enforcement is a matter of discretion, which means that some law enforcement agencies across the state may choose to enforce it while others may choose not to.

See also: Georgia Immigration Act Slows Admission Of Health Workers

Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police executive director Frank Rotondo pointed out in an interview with the newspaper the potential impact of the law on agricultural communities that rely heavily on Hispanic migrant workers.

“Sure, the police chiefs are not going to encourage their people to stop and arrest everyone for not having the proper papers,” he said. “You will exercise a great deal of discretion because the economy of the entire community depends on it.”

If the police decide to enforce the law and they have reason to believe that a suspect is illegally in the country, they can contact federal agencies to verify the individual’s legal status.

In Alabama, where a similar discretionary law already exists, a police chief told the Journal Constitution that his officials had partially stopped enforcing the law because federal agencies could take hours to respond.

State Rep. Matt Ramsey (R), the sponsor of the law, was unavailable for comment, and a press officer said she had “no comment” on the law, but Ramsey told the Journal Constitution that the law had discretion stand and understand that “the federal immigration law is developing”.

Katie O’Connor, an attorney for civil rights group Advancement Project, said the law puts the police in a “bad position” for deciding whether to enforce it.

“Any time you give the local authorities so much discretion, there are bound to be problems,” O’Connor said in an interview with ABC / Univision News. “It is obviously suitable for racial profiling.”