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Some Georgia Immigration Bills Advance, Others Stagnate or Fail

 

(APN) ATLANTA -- With several immigration-related bills introduced this year in the Georgia Legislature, some of the most sweeping measures--modeled after recently
passed immigration reforms in Arizona--are advancing to passage, while other bills face hurdles or have stagnated.  Atlanta Progressive News has attended committee 
hearings and observed floor debates related to several of these bills.
HB 87, "SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS," PASSES STATE HOUSE
HB 87, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act, is Georgia's Arizona-style immigration bill, referred to by activists as "Show Me Your Papers."  It went through at 
least 16 different drafts to address various concerns raised by advocates, business leaders, and lawmakers before it passed out of the House Judiciary Non-Civil 
committee on Monday, February 28, 2011.
The bill, which was sponsored by Republican State Rep. Matt Ramsey, then passed the full State House on Thursday, March 03, 2011, in a vote of 113 to 56.
"I'm concerned about our ability to write legislation when, still two years later we can't decide if the President [Obama] is a citizen.  How in the world are we 
going to decide who's a citizen in Georgia?" State Rep. Al Williams, a Democrat, said on the House floor before the vote on HR 87.  Williams was referring to a recent bill by
State Rep. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross) to require next year's US Presidential candidates to provide hard proof of their birth on US soil.
As Republicans held a vote for HB 87 inside, over 200 people gathered outside, with less than 24 hours notice, to oppose the bill.  Many believe HB 87 will encourage 
racial profiling and a vigilante environment in Georgia.
 
This bill would require all Georgians to carry identification on them at all times in order to avoid being detained while police try to determine their status.  
This would turn Georgia into a police state.  It would hurt state and local economies and lead to a tremendous loss in tourism dollars.  There may also be economic 
consequences from enforcement, lawsuits, and boycotts.  
SB 40, SENATE COUNTERPART, PASSES SENATE CMTE
 
SB 40 mirrors several provisions in HB 87, although it appears more narrow in scope and more focused on requiring employers to use the E-verify system.  SB 40 was 
introduced by State Sen. Jack Murphy and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  
The Cmte passed SB 40 on Wednesday March 02, 2011, and it now heads to the full State Senate for a vote.
 
SB 40 also orders fines and jail time for certain non-citizens that do not carry a "certificate of registration."  It further authorizes state and local law 
enforcement to detain individuals for unspecified period of time to determine their status.
 
HB 59, BANNING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS FROM COLLEGES, PASSES HOUSE CMTE
HB 59 the "Lawful presence verification; postsecondary education; reserve benefits" bill, referred to by advocates as "Destroying the Dreams," was introducted by State
Rep. Tom Rice (R-Norcross).
 
Rice argues the legislation is necessary to prevent undocumented students from taking seats away from US citizens.
HB 59 would prohibit all 35 public universities and colleges in Georgia from admitting undocumented students, regardless of their academic qualification. 
The Regents recently enacted a rule, effective next fall, barring undocumented immigrants from attending institutions that have waitlists for qualified applicants: 
Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia College and State University, and Georgia State University.
  
Chancelor Erroll Davis of the University System of Georgia testified that "only 501 of the 311,000 students statewide were undocumented and paying out-of-state 
tuition."  Undocumented does not necessarily mean the students are in the US illegally.  "We are in the education business, not the immigration business," Davis said.
 
Students who pay out-of-state tuition, pay three to four times more than students who pay in-state tuition.
 
State Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) testified before the House Higher Education Cmte on February 16, 2011, about a soldier who couldn’t get into classes at 
Gainesville State College because, according to the story, the soldier did not respond to a letter requesting tuition which arrived while he was on military duty.
"Should legal citizens be standing behind the line of people who are not here legally?" Sen. Belfour asked.
 
"Our capacity is not being stressed by thousands of illegal students," Davis replied.  "We have taken the necessary actions to ensure that the children of taxpaying 
Georgians are not displaced by undocumented students." 
 
Anti-immigrant activist D.A. King revealed in his remarks, "The solider who did not get into Gainesville College was Senator Balfour's son." 
"Senator Balfour wants preferential treatment for his son," Minnie Ruffin a member of Georgia Peace and Justice Coaltion concluded.
 
State Rep. Len Walker who chaired the Cmte called for an unusual voice vote on HB 59.  All in favor of HB 59 say "yes" and those opposed say "no."   The no's were 
louder but Rep. Walker said the bill passed.  People in the audience shouted out "roll call vote."  No one knew who voted for the bill or even if the majority voted 
for the bill.  
 
"I have only seen two non-roll call votes in twenty years of observing the legislature," activist Larry Pellegrini said.
 
HB 72, ENGLISH-ONLY DRIVER'S LICENSE EXAM, TABLED IN STATE HOUSE
One bill which had a hearing did not fair so well.  HB 72 "English Only Driver's License Exam" was introduced by State Rep. James Mills (R-Gainesville).  It was tabled 
in the House on February 09, 2011.
Opponents argued the bill was discriminatory.  The test is currently given in 14 languages.
State Rep. BJ Pak (R-Lilburn) introduced an alternative proposal which required the state to update its sign test to include the most common English words used on digital 
signs.  When Pak's amendment passed, which addressed the original concern about reading street signs, HB 72 was tabled.
 
OTHER IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION INTRODUCED
Meanwhile, several bills were introduced but have simply stagnated.
SB 7 was introduced by State Sen. Bill Heath to ban undocumented workers from collecting workers' comp benefits for on-the-job injuries.  It was introduced on January 
25, 2011, but has not advanced.
 
SB 27 "Georgia Public Works and Contractor Protection Act" was introduced by State Sen. Judson Hill.  It requires use of E-Verify by public contractors and 
sub-contractors and establishes non-compliance penalties, including civil and criminal sanction.  According to advocates, the E-Verify databases are loaded with errors and disproportionately 
affect lawful residents and naturalized citizens.  HB 27 was introduced on January 27, 2011, but has not advanced.
SB 104, "State Government; prohibit policies by local governments that limit/restrict the enforcement of immigration laws; definitions," was introduced by State Sen.
Mullis and others, on February 17, 2011, but has not advanced.
SB 174, which would force all Georgia counties with a population of 100,000 or more, to enter the controversial federal 287(g) program, was introduced State Sen. Charlie 
Bethel on March 01, 2011, but has not advanced.
HB 296, introduced by State Rep. Josh Clark, mandates the State Board of Education and all school boards to provide annual data on number of undocumented students in 
grades K through 12.  The Georgia Department of Community Health is also mandated to compile data on undocumented patients at any hospital, health care facility, 
or medical or skilled nursing home.  It was introduced on February 23, 2011, but has not advanced.
(END / 2011)
 

(APN) ATLANTA -- With several immigration-related bills introduced this year in the Georgia Legislature, some of the most sweeping measures--modeled after recently passed immigration reforms in Arizona--are advancing to passage, while other bills face hurdles or have stagnated.  Atlanta Progressive News has attended committee hearings and observed floor debates related to several of these bills.

HB 87, "SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS," PASSES STATE HOUSE

HB 87, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act, is Georgia's Arizona-style immigration bill, referred to by activists as "Show Me Your Papers."  It went through at least 16 different drafts to address various concerns raised by advocates, business leaders, and lawmakers before it passed out of the House Judiciary Non-Civil committee on Monday, February 28, 2011.

The bill, which was sponsored by Republican State Rep. Matt Ramsey, then passed the full State House on Thursday, March 03, 2011, in a vote of 113 to 56.

"I'm concerned about our ability to write legislation when, still two years later we can't decide if the President [Obama] is a citizen.  How in the world are we going to decide who's a citizen in Georgia?" State Rep. Al Williams, a Democrat, said on the House floor before the vote on HR 87.  Williams was referring to a recent bill by State Rep. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross) to require next year's US Presidential candidates to provide hard proof of their US citizenship.

As Republicans held a vote for HB 87 inside, over 200 people gathered outside, with less than 24 hours notice, to oppose the bill.  Many believe HB 87 will encourage racial profiling and a vigilante environment in Georgia.  This bill would require all Georgians to carry identification on them at all times in order to avoid being detained while police try to determine their status.  

This would turn Georgia into a police state.  It would hurt state and local economies and lead to a tremendous loss in tourism dollars.  There may also be economic consequences from enforcement, lawsuits, and boycotts.  

SB 40, SENATE COUNTERPART, PASSES SENATE CMTE 

SB 40 mirrors several provisions in HB 87, although it appears more narrow in scope and more focused on requiring employers to use the E-verify system.  SB 40 was introduced by State Sen. Jack Murphy and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  

The Cmte passed SB 40 on Wednesday March 02, 2011, and it now heads to the full State Senate for a vote.  SB 40 also orders fines and jail time for certain non-citizens who do not carry a "certificate of registration."  It further authorizes state and local law enforcement to detain individuals for unspecified period of time to determine their status. 

HB 59, BANNING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS FROM COLLEGES, PASSES HOUSE CMTE

HB 59 the "Lawful presence verification; postsecondary education; reserve benefits" bill, referred to by advocates as "Destroying the Dreams," was introducted by State Rep. Tom Rice (R-Norcross). Rice argues the legislation is necessary to prevent undocumented students from taking seats away from US citizens.

HB 59 would prohibit all 35 public universities and colleges in Georgia from admitting undocumented students, regardless of their academic qualification. 

The Regents recently enacted a rule, effective next fall, barring undocumented immigrants from attending institutions that have waitlists for qualified applicants: Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia College and State University, and Georgia State University.  

Chancelor Erroll Davis of the University System of Georgia testified that "only 501 of the 311,000 students statewide were undocumented and paying out-of-state tuition."  Undocumented does not necessarily mean the students are in the US illegally.  "We are in the education business, not the immigration business," Davis said. 

Students who pay out-of-state tuition, pay three to four times more than students who pay in-state tuition. 

State Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) testified before the House Higher Education Cmte on February 16, 2011, about a soldier who couldn’t get into classes at Gainesville State College because, according to the story, the soldier did not respond to a letter requesting tuition which arrived while he was on military duty.

"Should legal citizens be standing behind the line of people who are not here legally?" Sen. Belfour asked. 

"Our capacity is not being stressed by thousands of illegal students," Davis replied.  "We have taken the necessary actions to ensure that the children of taxpaying Georgians are not displaced by undocumented students."  

Anti-immigrant activist D.A. King revealed in his remarks, "The solider who did not get into Gainesville College was Senator Balfour's son." 

"Sen. Balfour wants preferential treatment for his son," Minnie Ruffin, a member of Georgia Peace and Justice Coaltion, concluded. 

State Rep. Len Walker who chaired the Cmte called for an unusual voice vote on HB 59.  All in favor of HB 59 say "yes" and those opposed say "no."   The no's were louder but Rep. Walker said the bill passed.  People in the audience shouted out "roll call vote."  No one knew who voted for the bill or even if the majority voted for the bill.   

"I have only seen two non-roll call votes in twenty years of observing the legislature," activist Larry Pellegrini said. 

HB 72, ENGLISH-ONLY DRIVER'S LICENSE EXAM, TABLED IN STATE HOUSE

One bill which had a hearing did not fair so well.  HB 72 "English Only Driver's License Exam" was introduced by State Rep. James Mills (R-Gainesville).  It was tabled in the House on February 09, 2011.

Opponents argued the bill was discriminatory.  The test is currently given in 14 languages.

State Rep. BJ Pak (R-Lilburn) introduced an alternative proposal which required the state to update its sign test to include the most common English words used on digital signs.  When Pak's amendment passed, which addressed the original concern about reading street signs, HB 72 was tabled. 

OTHER IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION INTRODUCED

Meanwhile, several bills were introduced but have simply stagnated.

SB 7 was introduced by State Sen. Bill Heath to ban undocumented workers from collecting workers' comp benefits for on-the-job injuries.  It was introduced on January 25, 2011, but has not advanced. 

SB 27 "Georgia Public Works and Contractor Protection Act" was introduced by State Sen. Judson Hill.  It requires use of E-Verify by public contractors and sub-contractors and establishes non-compliance penalties, including civil and criminal sanctions.  According to advocates, the E-Verify databases are loaded with errors and disproportionately affect lawful residents and naturalized citizens.  SB 27 was introduced on January 27, 2011, but has not advanced.

SB 104, "State Government; prohibit policies by local governments that limit/restrict the enforcement of immigration laws; definitions," was introduced by State Sen. Mullis and others, on February 17, 2011, but has not advanced.

SB 174, which would force all Georgia counties with a population of 100,000 or more, to enter the controversial federal 287(g) program, was introduced State Sen. Charlie Bethel on March 01, 2011, but has not advanced.

HB 296, introduced by State Rep. Josh Clark, mandates the State Board of Education and all school boards to provide annual data on number of undocumented students in grades K through 12.  The Georgia Department of Community Health would also be mandated to compile data on undocumented patients at any hospital, health care facility, or medical or skilled nursing home.  It was introduced on February 23, 2011, but has not advanced.

(END / 2011)

 


Comments (4)

Brittanicus
Said this on 3-6-2011 At 11:13 pm

Adding to this terrible situation of individual States having to enact their own illegal immigration laws, illegal alien criminals are being released back on the streets. Cases such a Bolivian alien has had several conviction for drunk driving and finally killed a 66 year old Benedictine nun and severely injuring several others.These are--NOT--isolated incidents, but a growing danger of defective criminals driving intoxicated in all regions of the country. Another case in point of a disabled young man, continuously stabbed by a group of gang members. One of the defendants, Loeun Heng, was released by the Massachusetts Parole Board last March. The illegal alien was immediately taken into custody by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.Instead of being deported to his native Cambodia, Heng is back on American streets. ICE carelessly released over 800 criminal illegals back into US society just in 2009; and this seems illegal aliens have more rights than US citizens; specially under the Obama administration.


Google, THE DARK SIDE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION website. My nephews in California says everyday television broadcasts almost daily hit and run news, that seems to be rising in volume.  These type of incidents are kept quiet and only the relentless assistance of Public advocate organization such as Judicial Watch have been able to glean the truth. For decades our governments have continuously lied to us, as Janet Napolitano "that the border is secure mantra goes..."  Go to Texas and observe the open lakes, which is patrolled by a few boats, and has no fence at all on the American side.The culprits are the Leftist extremist and will be in our government will be routed out. In truth its the US government killing Americans, because they refuse to build the real-double layer fence and deploy the 5000 US military to repel anybody they see entering illegally.
 

"Not the tired and poor" no more? These are economic illegal aliens, slipping through our porous border defenses, looking  for welfare or criminals attacking innocent citizens, arriving are the dregs of the sewers around this planet. They are not the legal immigrants of the 19th Century, with nothing but the clothes on their back--with  no expectation of public benefits. Yes! There were criminals, but nothing like countless drunk drivers, female molesters, thieves, drug smugglers. Not forgetting the eruption of aliens attacking children sexually. This administration as with the previous administrations have all looked the other way because of the profits being made by their political donors who exploit discount labor at the expense of American citizens. For business illegal immigration is the next best thing to slavery and business should be held accountable with fines and heavy prison sentences.


"Give me your tired, your poor"--except now the tired and poor are draining the financial safety-net for US citizens and Residents? Except back at the time of an active Ellis Island there was no welfare and their was no need for immigration restrictions. Hey! But Utah is open to occupation as they have just passed a law, to bring in Guest Workers from another corrupt province south of the border. So all those illegal aliens that are dismayed with the State of Arizona policing laws, are leaving and going elsewhere?  MANY STATES THAT HAS NO EFFECTIVE POLICING LAWS will also become an unaware target. Conversely, those States who are mandating the federal E-Verify computer data-bases operated by the Social Security and (ICE) Immigration and Custom Services to qualify true US workers will not be swamped with foreigners.

Most States never hear the truth of the illegal alien importation, as the politicians are in collusion with businesses and other special interest. The Leftist press never reveals any of the facts about the assault on our traditions and society, using the race card if we make waves. If we offer negative dialogues about the invasion we are labeled bigots. While all the time "tired and poor" Americans are being crippled by higher taxes, to pay for the education, medical care and a other public programs. Now foreign nationals can skedaddle over to Utah as the Legislators are welcoming them. If they don't fancy Utah, the Sanctuary State of California still has a wide open welfare system, so they can start feeding off the taxpayers there. All these people need is a bogus Social Security number and Drivers license to collect hand-full’s of money and Democrat Governor Jerry Brown will leach that extra money from taxes or cut spending to legal residents. Some States are even thinking of rescinding the use of displaying drivers licenses, government ID, passports and other verification documents, to vote. This will be a major error for citizen voters, as this will become a loophole for illegal immigrants--intentional or not--to use fraudulent absentee ballots and in polling stations.

 In soft States the politicians will give out Section 8 housing, taken away from Senior Citizens who have worked all their lives. Never mind that these persons come to American penniless and the females have a 14th Amendment citizenship infant, requiring no insurance and burdening the emergency rooms—because the Liberal Court system mandated it. Guaranteeing the State taxpayers will subsidize the low income housing and all public services. The more children they conceive, the more cash payments they can accumulate. Texas lawmakers are suddenly feeling guilty of these reoccurring financial circumstances, because they too have been flooded for decades with a part of the 20 million foreigners from all parts of the world. California is the perfect place to inhabit, even though they a facing massive cutbacks in their economy, as they have a 24 billion dollars deficit.

Nevada has a hurting economically as well, as that State is overpopulated by illegal aliens with their families. The majority of other regions are painfully aware, that they too maybe visited by illegal squatters. Billions of dollars are going overseas and into Latin America from illegal labor here, to their families. The majority of phone books have a government listing of both federal and State lawmakers, who you can contact. This country is in deep trouble from public entitlements, especially from the free handouts nationwide to illegal persons. PLEASE, DON'T KEEP QUIET ANYMORE! Take a few minutes from the pizza and football, to call your Representatives or join a local TEA PARTY. Your voice is a powerful ally in this unceasing issue and you need to understand future consequences. NumbersUSA is a formidable advocate against any anti-sovereignty, pro-illegal immigration and overpopulation. It also has click-able links to many resources and a free faxing buffet, to communicate your frustration and opinion to those in Washington.

DISGUSTED WITH FORMING HATE
Said this on 3-8-2011 At 02:37 am

You are greatly mislead...and VERY IGNORANT!! The only reason for all this discriminatory talk and hatred is because of a lack of education and mis-information given to the public. THis sounds like a bunch of ignorant jibber-jabber from the mouth of someone who has NO CLUE of what is REALLY going on and how the system works. For your information, in order for ANYONE  to recieve any kind of government assistance, YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOUR CITIZENSHIP with your birth ceritficate, Social Security card and driver license, and they all are VERIFIED AND COMPARED TO ONE ANOTHER! These documents are not easily duplicated as they were years ago due to the recent and constant changes to the look of them. if anyone does use a false social security number, it is just a matter of time before you are caught if not right away...the sysytem has made it very hard for loopholes because they have started a stronger verification system. As for your comments on taking tax payers jobs, Are YOU going to do the jobs they perform? I think not! The average American is too proud to complete the jobs that these hard workers do for the amount of money they are making. Not only that, most of these worker would be more than happy to file and pay taxes, IF THEY COULD. But without a way to apply for proper tax ID numbers or work visas this is impossible. IRS goes by the social security number, which is illegal if they use a false one...they will get caught and ruin their chances of ever being able to receive consideration for residency. Most of the time, they pay cash for everything and contribute more to the economy than an average American does. They don't rely on a faulty credit system to get money to pay for things, only to allow the debt to grow out of control and never pay it back.

As far as crime is concerned-there are just as many and more of American citizens who commit these same crimes only to be released back into society and commit the same crimes or worse again. You cannot honestly sit there and say that it's only or mostly illegal immigrants doing this. The people who are in prison/jail are AMERICAN CITIZENS...that is far and in between...yes if they commit a crime such as you mentioned they should go back to their native country...butyou will find that they will find their way back in because of a lack of border control and acts of being so desperate to get out of their current situation. Most of them come here out of desperation and will continue to do so. When a human being is desperate, they will go to any measure to acheive their objectives. Think about what you would do if you lived in the conditions that most of them lived in, with the restrictions and boundries they faced. Some places don't even have simple luxuries such as electricity, or running clean water.

 I think that if it was easier for the people already here that are illegal/undocumented to receive residency, you would have less hit and runs and crimes of that nature that are  not traceable to anyone, allowing them to be reapeat offenders in some cases. They RUN BECAUSE THEY LIVE IN FEAR OF BEING CAUGHT AND DEPORTED, or because they know they can't get caught, instead of making them be being able to have the chance to be held accountable for their own actions. If we allow them an easier way of getting residency, they are traceable and therefore are in the same position as any citizen to get caught if they do run.

My opinion is secure the borders from any others getting in, but stop targeting the people already here and give them a better chance to become legal so they aren't FORCED to live their lives the way they do. All this does is it seperated American society and creates HATE. Our nation was built on immigration and freedom. Who are we to now to try to take it back after all we have fought for and built our country on? Isn't this supposed to be the "Land of the Free??" or do we need to change that part and change our constitution as well so that we can continue to impend our egoistic, selfish opinions on human rights????? 

joseph
Said this on 8-16-2011 At 09:44 am

you want to down the illegals. sure they're illegal and commit crimes. but there is an equal amount of american trash committing crimes and leeching off the government. before you go difference bashing check on the homeland right in your backyard.  everyone wants to say illegals are responsible for the crimes but everyone for gets of gacy, dahmer, rudolph and gein.

Gloria Tatum
Said this on 3-8-2011 At 08:15 am

For everything you ever wanted to know about the immigration bills, read Charles Kuck's blog.

www.musingsonimmigration.blogspot.com

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