Ga. immigration law could impact transportation

12:20 AM, Jun 21, 2011   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- A federal lawsuit is going back and forth in the court system. A judge will rule on whether Georgia's news immigration law is constitutional by July 1.

RELATED: Opponents of Ga. immigration law seek injunction

Monday, an Atlanta attorney told 11Alive's Jeff Hullinger there are unintended consequences of the new immigration bill that have the potential to impact all private and public transportation.

Quinton Washington of the law firm Bell and Washington is representing more than 2,000 taxi cab drivers from Gainesville to Clayton County to Atlanta.

If cab or limo drivers get pulled over for speeding or for a broken taillight, police have the right to ask for citizenship of the passengers.

Less than 7 undocumented people, it's a misdemeanor, more than 7, a felony.

Many immigrants use cabs to buy groceries and run errands.

The cab drivers don't want to be responsible for examining papers and documentation to make their living.

"It is our hope that the legislature and local law enforcement authorities would not seek to penalize drivers for simply taking people from point A to point B," Washington said. 

He adds this issue doesn't just impact taxi cabs and limo drivers, but it impacts MARTA bus drivers and train personnel too.

All transportation would be responsible for all passengers.

A driver could be charged with a felony for simply doing his or her job by driving the bus.

"Right now MARTA could be fined under this," Washington said. "They don't have a common carrier exception for buses and MARTA, etc. They only have exceptions for people transporting known undocumented persons if they are going to judicial proceedings and told to do so by the courts."

The cab companies and drivers would like something worked out by the time the law kicks in July 1.

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