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Federal appeals court lifts hold on section of Georgia immigration law

— A federal appeals court has ruled law enforcement in Georgia may verify the immigration status of criminal suspects who fail to produce proper identification.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday that a hold blocking that section of the state's 2011 immigration law should be lifted. It was not immediately clear when that would happen.

The panel did leave in place part of the injunction blocking a section that allows the prosecution of certain individuals who knowingly harbor or transport an illegal immigrant during the commission of a crime.

A lower court must still rule on a challenge to the law by activist groups. Monday's decision dealt only with preliminary injunctions.

The decision tracks a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding parts of a similar law in Arizona.

“I am pleased that the the 11th Circuit has reversed the lower court's injunction and allowed Section 8 of HB 87 to stand," Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said. "While I disagree with the Court’s decision on Section 7, after over a year of litigation, only one of the 23 sections of HB 87 has been invalidated. We are currently reviewing the 11th Circuit’s ruling to determine whether further appeal would be appropriate at this stage of the case.”