The state of Georgia has the seventh largest undocumented immigrant population in the United States. With 425,000 undocumented immigrants, the state ranks seventh in the nation and is one level higher than Arizona, where there are 400,000, according to a recent Pew Hispanic report.
Yet, the Grand Canyon State went ahead last year and launched into the “immigration enforcement” thing enactingSB1070, amidst controversy, applause and outcry.
But Georgia doesn’t want to stat behind. This Friday, state representatives will start discussing HB 87, a proposal that resembles that in the Southwest.
The mastermind behind this is Republican Rep. Matt Ramsey, who has said that the “illegal problem” is bigger in the Peach State than in Arizona.
From the Atlanta Journal and Constitution:
In Georgia, Republican Rep. Matt Ramsey’s bill would punish people who encourage illegal immigrants to enter the state and punish people who transport and conceal them when they get here. Lawmakers are set to start discussing HB 87 at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
Supporters say the state needs to take action because illegal immigrants are sapping taxpayer-funded resources and taking jobs amid high unemployment.
“People are always surprised when I tell them that we have more illegal aliens in Georgia than they do in Arizona,” Ramsey said Tuesday, “underscoring that we do have a significant problem in Georgia that does significantly bear on our state and local government resources.”
Critics say the legislation could hurt Georgia’s economy, particularly its $65 billion agricultural industry, which relies heavily on migrant workers.
According to his plan, he wants:
1. To encourage more communities to apply to join a federal immigration enforcement program called 287(g). Through the program, local police officers and sheriff’s deputies are given the power to question people about whether they are in the country legally and issue arrest warrants, prepare charging documents, and detain and transport people for immigration violations;
2. To implement measures to toughen an existing Georgia law requiring state and local government contractors to ensure their employees are eligible to legally work in the United States. The legislation could also include incentives for other private employees to participate in E-Verify, a federal work authorization program;
3. To create provisions to ensure the identification people use to get public benefits in Georgia are “secure and verifiable.”
I’ll be here till Saturday and the hearings will start at 9:30 Friday. Guess I already have plans.