Marchers protest Georgia immigration law

This Independence Day weekend, a different kind of parade made its way through the streets of Atlanta. Thousands of marchers stormed the Georgia state capitol to protest a recently passed immigration law that, among other things, makes it a felony to use false information or documentation when applying for a job.

Thousands of marchers stormed the Georgia Capitol on Saturday to protest the state’s new immigration law, which they say creates an unwelcome environment for people of color and those in search of a better life.

Men, women and children of all ages converged on downtown Atlanta for the march and rally, cheering speakers while shading themselves with umbrellas and posters. Capitol police and organizers estimated the crowd at between 8,000 and 14,000. They filled the blocks around the Capitol, holding signs decrying House Bill 87 and reading “Immigration Reform Now!” …

Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, said the crowd was sending a message.

“They are ready to fight,” Nicholls said. “We need immigration reform, and no HB87 is going to stop us. We have earned the right to be here.”

Without doubt, the nation needs immigration reform — but Nicholls’ perspective comes across as incredibly short-sighted. She seems to imply all that’s required to “earn the right to be here” is … to be here. But part of what it means to live in the United States is to respect the rule of law.

Georgia’s new law doesn’t even really do anything new: It just reinforces the state’s ability to enforce federal law. And at the moment, the law does even less than that. A judge Monday blocked several of the law’s key provisions, including one to authorize police to check the immigration status of suspects without proper identification and another to penalize people who knowingly and willingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants while committing another crime.

Today’s march followed a different kind of demonstration yesterday. Opponents of the new Georgia law organized “a day without immigrants,” during which some businesses closed and some community members refused to work or shop to protest the law.