12/17/2012 09:07:24 AM EST
Attorneys’ Advice on Georgia's Immigration Law: Carry I.D., Remain Silent
"Bring your I.D. when you leave your home. Refuse to talk about your immigration status if police stop you. And tell them you have an attorney. Those are among the tips Atlanta-area immigration attorneys are giving their clients now that a federal judge has cleared the way for police to start enforcing a hotly debated part of Georgia’s immigration law. The statute gives police the option to investigate the immigration status of suspects they believe have committed state or federal crimes and who cannot provide identification or other information that could help police identify them. It also authorizes police to detain people determined to be in the country illegally and take them to jail. Carolina Antonini, a local immigration attorney who teaches at Georgia State University, stressed immigrants have the right to remain silent during encounters with police and should always carry documents proving their identity, such as a passport. “I advise clients to not volunteer information but certainly not to lie to the police,” she said. Joseph Rosen, an immigration attorney who teaches at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, agreed. “If asked about your legal status, just say, ‘I don’t know,’ ” he said. “A lot of people don’t know. But you certainly can’t lie about it, or else they will get you for misrepresentation.”" - Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dec. 11, 2012.