Gov. Nathan Deal signed the state’s controversial immigration reform bill into law Friday.

Protesters Rally At Immigration Bill Signing

The controversial bill requires Georgia employers to use the federal government’s E-Verify system to check the immigration status of new employees. It also gives police more leeway to check the immigration status of criminal suspects.

GOP legislative leaders have applauded the law though some south Georgia Republicans worried it would hurt farmers who hire migrant workers to plant and harvest crops.

Channel 2’s Carol Sbarge was outside the state capitol as protesters gathered in defiance.

“Today we’re here to announce that the boycott is on. It is on and it is going to tell people across the country that they should not come here,” protestor Xochitl Bervera told Sbarge.

Critics have told Channel 2 Action News they plan to file a federal lawsuit to stop the law and will ask a judge for an injunction. They compare the bill to a controversial Arizona law now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anti-Defamation League Southeast director Bill Nigut released a statement Friday morning saying the bill is anti-business and anti-humane.

But Deal and other legislators said they learned from the Arizona law’s flaws and corrected them in Georgia’s version.

The governor has until May 24 to sign a bill into law. After that, any unsigned bill will become law automatically. However, the governor’s office told Elliot that he has a self-imposed deadline of this Friday to sign bills into law since he will be leaving for an economic development trip to Europe on Saturday.