5/13/11 --- 12:45pm -- ATLANTA (AP) --
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a bill that cracks down on illegal immigration by increasing some enforcement powers and requiring many employers to check the immigration status of new hires.
Deal on Friday signed the bill that has some similarities to a controversial bill enacted last year in Arizona. Most parts of the Georgia law are set to enter into effect July 1. But opponents have said they plan to file lawsuits seeking to block it.
A requirement for private employers to use a federal database to check the immigration status of new hires is set to be phased in.
The new law also authorizes law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of certain suspects and to detain those who are in the country illegally.