Georgia Mayor: Why I’m suing Georgia over immigration law
[CNN] Editor’s note: Paul Bridges is the mayor of Uvalda, Georgia, and a member of a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and other organizations to prevent Georgia’s new immigration enforcement law, House Bill 87, from going into effect July 1.
Many are surprised to learn that a conservative Republican mayor like me is involved in a class-action civil-rights lawsuit against my state. And yet, I’m proud to participate in this challenge to Georgia’s harsh “papers please” law, which runs counter to America’s greatest values and threatens to run my town’s economy to the ground.
HB87, which was signed last month by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, would authorize Georgia police to demand proof of citizenship from criminal suspects not carrying an approved form of identification and would also impose criminal penalties for anyone who knowingly harbors or transports an undocumented immigrant.
Under Georgia’s new law, those simple, neighborly activities could become criminal acts. If I fail to use my turn signal or speed while taking fellow parishioners to church, and I incur a traffic violation with an undocumented person in the van, then I could end up with a criminal penalty —even a felony with a second offense. If I don’t check the papers of friends who stay with my family, I might be charged with harboring an undocumented person.