May 4, 2011; Source: | The U.S. Human Rights Network, an Atlanta-based nonprofit, has cancelled plans to hold its conference in Atlanta this year, to show opposition to the controversial anti-illegal immigration law Governor Nathan Deal is planning on signing into law this week.

The conference would have brought some 600 people to Atlanta, giving the city the kind of economic infusion most cities and towns crave.

The Georgia immigration law, H.B. 87 (PDF) authorizes law enforcement officers to check immigration status of criminal suspects and detain those who are in the country illegally, among other things. The legislation is similar to Arizona’s controversial new immigration law.

“HB 87 is another sad apartheid initiative spreading throughout the country to create fear and exploit people in compromised positions,” said Ajamu Baraka, the U.S. Human Rights Network’s executive director. “Reactionary forces in this country are attempting to turn the clock backward to the 18th century by creating these laws.”

Thank you to the nonprofit U.S. Human Rights Network for standing up in opposition when they see a law that adversely affects the poorest and most disenfranchised among us. This is an important role nonprofits can and should play when justice is threatened.—Aaron Lester