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Georgia passes new immigrant law

Published: Friday, March 18, 2011

Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011 13:03

Immigration law

Joeff Davis | Creative Loafing

Lawmakers focused on the new immigration law as students and other supporters and non supporters protested outside the Capitol.

The Georgia state House passed House Bill 87, the Illegal Immigration and Reform Act of 2011, on Mar. 3. This law, sponsored by Representative Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City), has been compared to a similar law Arizona passed last year.

The 113-56 vote includes new provisions for job seekers. Under the new law, presenting false documentation is a felony that may include up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Like the Arizona law, police officers have the authority to validate immigration statuses of individuals when enforcing other laws. For instance, if a violator is pulled over for speeding, and the police have reason to believe that they are not legal, they may check the violator's status. Under the new legislation, those who move or house undocumented immigrants will be tried and punished as well. Transporting seven or fewer undocumented immigrants is a misdemeanor, and may result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 12 months in prison. Punishments increase if more than one offense is committed.

On her website, State Representative Charlice Byrd said, "The incompetence of the federal government costs Georgia more than $2.4B/per year according to the American Federation for American Immigration Reform.  The fiscal burdens created by illegals directly impacts the cornerstone services our state provides its citizens and the level at which they are provided.  These services impact education, healthcare and law enforcement/corrections."

Though the law's intent is to prevent undocumented workers from getting tax benefits, the law's mostly Democratic opponents, including the Mexican ambassador, believe that this may lead to racial profiling and keep foreign businesses and tourism out of Georgia.

Many employers already use E-Verify, an optional system that gives employers the ability to check work eligibility. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security operates E-Verify. A mandate to use E-Verify that passed in 2006 applied to only to businesses seeking government contracts.

"When we use E-Verify, it takes minutes and it solves problems down the road, but now, illegal workers can leave us and go get hired by someone else down the road who doesn't verify. We are concerned about losing American jobs because illegal immigrants are taking jobs illegally," Tea Party member Denise Ogio told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I don't agree with the probable cause section of the law because it will lead to racial profiling.  Just because someone is of another race, it does not mean that they are illegal. Where is the line drawn when looking for probable cause and racism?" said Georgia State sophomore Stacy Williams.

"This law is messed up! You can't just look at somebody and say whether or not they're legal or illegal! I know the economy is really bad, but I think that corporate America is looking out for their own. I know that in Mexico corporate businesses have been buying up all their croplands and we're putting all these farmers out of work and we keep telling people to come to America. These people say that we have jobs, but then the people come here to work, and we punish them? It's BS. This law is going to create racial injustice and police will pull over people who they think fit the illegal stereotype, such as Latinos. It will cause chaos. And for what?" said junior Priscilla Stewart.

"I'm for the part about enforcing the law on illegal workers, but not the housing immigrants part. It is too vague," said student Blake Poppell "What if you see a starving person on the street? Would you get into trouble with the law for helping them out?"

"That's wrong because children who are in America illegally don't get a choice as to whether they come here. They'll go to jail and they don't even know what's going on," said student Mari Emory.

"I just think that there are people who are trying to make a better life for themselves and it's a long process to get papers," said student Monique Joseph.

Recently, a Georgia man was sentenced to four years in federal prison. Zhong Liang Li headed a small group that placed ads in Chinese-language newspapers promising driver's licenses to people who did not have proper documents. He then paid a Driver Services examiner to make the licenses, many of which included fake information. Three other men involved received jail time as well.

This law follows a decision made by the Board of Regents last October banning undocumented immigrants from attending six universities in Georgia, including Georgia State.

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3 comments

Marisela (fellow American with a hint of Mexican)
Thu Mar 24 2011 11:17
I honestly believe this is most definitely not the way to go. Illegal immigrants are what started America aren't they? Thought so.

All they want is a better life like every other American. The only reason why they are ILLEGAL is because our system's process is whack! If it weren't so hard for them to become citizens they would already be citizens with the proper documentation. How do you think they will ever be able to follow the law if they aren't given a fair chance. I know the processes they have to go through its not easy and I was born and raised here in south Georgia. If its hard for me to understand, what makes the system think that immigrants will? KISS, keep it sweet and simple.

Yea, the big thing is taxes. Again, they would file their taxes if given their documentation. They don't come to this country thinking "Okay, i'm going to come here and break every law possible." NO! They don't think that they come here with the intent to work for a better life. They want to do right. They're human, they no right from wrong, as do we. And this law and mistreatment is definitely WRONG! Given the opportunity they will follow the law, but if they are never granted citizenship no matter how much they do follow the law they will always be breaking it, with the fact that they are illegal.

Crowed you say? No. Too many of them or too scared to even go anywhere but home and work. They or one of their children (who are more than likey LEGAL) have to be pretty much on the brink of dying if they are in a hospital. Oh yea my bad isn't that what hospitals are for? Aren't you supposed to go to a hospital if your about to die? Exacty. Schools on the other hand are doors to a new life. America is the land of opportunity. Everyone has the opportunity to better themselves. Education is the key to a better life. Don't deny that from anyone.

As for them taking jobs from Americans. Not true. If they are illegal, they don't have proper documentation, which means the jobs most Americans can get required these document, which again means they can't "take that job" from us. They are happy with field work. Field work in which most Americans will never "stoop down to" is what most of them make a living doing. All I'm saying is, if you lock these people up some of our fellow Americans will have to STOOP DOWN TO field work to keep that produce stocked in our local grocery stores, lettuce and all that other junk they put on our burgers, subs, pizzas, and what ever else you can think of.

Well, I hope some one atleast takes some of this into consideration. This is all I have to say...for now. I'm late for class.

Bad choice Georgia :(

Brittanicus
Fri Mar 18 2011 16:31
THEY WILL BE REMOVED IN 2012?

All the Republican Senate cowards need to know that when they brushed aside some of the policing laws in Arizona, they will be forfeit their seats in 2012; compliments of the Tea Party. Immigration is no longer a less prominent issue, as just like jobs it is costing too much money that it is almost beyond imagination. Those RINO's in Arizona who sold their vote to corporate and big business and the zealot open border lobby will feel the wrath of the Arizona taxpayers. But not just in the financially ailing Arizona, but Utah and many other States that have deceived the American population when voted into office. Americans should not have to compete with criminal foreigners who are being rewarded for their wrongdoing with taxpayer money. E-Verify must become a permanent tool to protect American jobs, with the full force of ICE.

Secure Communities policing law, along with the 287 (g) should be enforced throughout the United States. On the agenda should be a National ID card, which should be issued to every native born American and resident legal immigrant. We will endure against the Leftist-Socialism sinking this country into of crisis.

In Arizona Governor Brewer and State Senator Peirce authored a very harsh but financially needed set of policies to save the State from imminent insolvency.

SB 1309: Establishes criteria for Arizona citizenship, requiring at least one legal U.S. parent in order to receive Arizona citizenship. This would allow Arizona to eliminate instant birthright babies. The Republicans who down-voted could not have read the 14th amendment, in its entirety? That it includes the parents of an infant born in the US can stay? Why is nobody interpreting; Article 1 Section 9 Paragraph 1 where it gives the State(s) the sole right to permit into the State whom it thinks right and shall not be prohibited by the Congress, which doesn't preempt the rights of the Federal Government? Why should the U.S. Government or any of its states tolerate any individual or person to come into the sovereign nation and make demands to fit their wishes?

SB 1405: Requires an admissions officer of a hospital to verify a person's citizenship or legal status before admitting the person for non-emergency care.

SB 1407 Requires the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to collect data from school.

SB 1611: Specifies that it is unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle in Arizona if the person is unlawfully present in the U.S. They must demonstrate a lawful presence for obtaining public housing, a vehicle title and registration, community college or university admission or any public benefit.

Those who are fed up with paying even higher taxes to support the illegal immigration invasion should join THE TEA party in your State. The Tea Party is the only true hope with have against growing government, lower taxes and to stop the corrupt slime in Washington and State Capitols that is selling the future of your children. Europe is being overrun by economic immigrants, but this must be halted in America. From all over the world they are coming here, to make a better life. But then what about a better life for our families and our children? What about our children who have to learn in crammed schools for of illegal aliens. What about our own low income Americans, who are forced to wait for hours in hospital waiting rooms overcrowded with illegals? How about the billions of dollars spent in judicial courts, jails and prisons, inundated will illegal alien criminals? Don't let the Liberal press delude you of the truth and the astronomical costs now that will certainly gain momentum in the future. Illegal immigration must end now by insuring every dirty businessman or contractor who hires cut-price labor goes to prison.

There is a list of businesses issuing a stark warning to the Arizona politicians to back-off enacting any more anti-illegal immigration bills. It is my strong opinion by going to BIZJOURNAL, that if you are infuriated by this disgusting stance of large and small businesses to boycott them. Perhaps they might comprehend that the people have the power to stop this nation financial crippling by the ingress of cheap labor.

May be six months in Sheriff Joe Arpaio "TENT CITY" would alter their perception in giving jobs to illegal aliens? Free faxes to demand an end to illegal immigration can be found at NumbersUSA or any of the hundreds of pro-sovereignty, Pro-US Constitution groups. Local phone directories have blue pages to contact federal and State lawmakers. DOING NOTHING IS DESTROYING THIS GREAT COUNTRY.

Anonymous
Fri Mar 18 2011 13:49
Way to go Georgia!




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