The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of six people denied licenses, all of whom are currently authorized to work in the United States and were waiting for the federal government to process their green cards. Some of these individuals had previously been issued driver’s licenses by the state of Georgia, but were denied under the state’s new policy when they attempted to renew.

According to the SPLC, when the individuals tried to renew or obtain new driver’s licenses they were sent to the department’s Office of Investigative Services, which required production of numerous immigration documents not necessary for licensure. Even after these documents were provided, the SPLC reports, the office refused issuance.

The SPLC alleges the state’s Department of Drivers Services’ policy violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment; it also notes Georgia does not have the authority to create immigration classifications that are non-existent under federal law or unilaterally asses the legal status of a person’s presence in the U.S.

By the Numbers

A recently released Pew Research Center Report found the number of immigrants living illegally in the state of Georgia fell by 50,000 between 2009 and 2014. In 2009, Georgia had 425,000 immigrants residing illegally in the state. The decrease is attributed to a drop in Mexican nationals, according to Pew. The study found that Georgia is one of seven states that experienced an overall decrease in this demographic group. The research was based on U.S. Census data. The other states that saw a decline in numbers of residents from Mexico included Alabama, California, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina.

Conversely, six states experienced overall increases between this same time period and include Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. Generally, the number of immigrants living illegally in the nation has stabilized. While the number of individuals from Mexico has decreased, immigrants from other countries such as Asia, Central America, and Sub-Saharan Africa have increased. In 2014, there were 11.1 million immigrants living in the nation illegally compared to 11.3 million in 2009.

Let an Attorney Help

It is important for you to know your rights under the law, and know that no one should face the legal system alone. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable attorney right away to explain your rights and obligations under state and federal laws as well as guide you through every step of this process.