Immigration measure passes Georgia Legislature

Deal expected to sign Arizona-style bill

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ATLANTA --- During their frantic final day Thursday, Georgia lawmakers passed a tough bill cracking down on illegal immigration, clearing the way for Gov. Nathan Deal to sign it.

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Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, receives congratulations after his controversial immigration bill passed in the House.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, receives congratulations after his controversial immigration bill passed in the House.

The General Assembly had already tackled major legislation on issues including the HOPE college scholarship, Sunday alcohol sales and the 2012 budget. A proposal to overhaul the state's tax code fell apart in the last hours.

Immigration was the only big bill on their agenda the final day. The Senate voted 37 to 19 and the House voted 112-59 to pass the bill that includes parts similar to a contentious law enacted last year in Arizona.

"I think it's a great day for Georgia," said sponsor Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City. "We're real proud of the product. It's been a lot of work but we think we have done our job that our constituents asked us to do to address the costs and the social consequences that have been visited on our state by the federal government's failure to secure our nation's borders."

Deal said during his campaign last year that he would support an Arizona-style bill, but a spokesman declined to comment Thursday night on whether the governor would sign the bill.

A major sticking point in the debate was whether private employers should be required to use a federal database called E-Verify to check the immigration status of new hires before they could get a business license or other papers needed to operate.

Groups representing businesses, agriculture, restaurant owners and others had urged lawmakers to eliminate the E-Verify mandate, saying it would be too burdensome for employers. Ramsey has said repeatedly that E-Verify is important because jobs drive illegal immigrants to Georgia.

The Senate added wording Thursday that retains the E-Verify requirement for private businesses with more than 10 employees but says any company found to have committed a "good faith violation" of the mandate would have a 30-day period to come into compliance. The requirement would be phased in in three steps with all employers with more than 10 employees being required to be in compliance by July 1, 2013.

Democrats argued that immigration is a federal issue and that the bill would harm the state's economy and could lead to civil rights violations.

"You have crafted a bill that insists on demonizing people of brown skin and with Spanish accents," said Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta.

A group of about 100 people gathered outside the Capitol on Thursday evening to protest the bill's passage.

"I think it's a shame that Georgia legislators continue to push our economy over the cliff. This bill will kill jobs in Georgia," said Jerry Gonzalez, the executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. "We think the governor will act in the best interest of our state and veto this bill."

The bill also says agriculture is a "vital pillar" for the state's economy and that a federal guest worker program that allows the industry to bring in seasonal workers is "administratively cumbersome and flawed."

It includes a resolution that directs the state Department of Agriculture to study the issue and recommend actions or legislation. The study should specifically address the federal guest worker program and provide recommendations for federal changes to the law.

The Senate passed a weakened version of the bill Monday, essentially stripping out the E-Verify requirement, only to have the House put it back in with the exemption for employers with 10 or fewer workers.

The bill would allow law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of certain criminal suspects and to detain those found to be in the country illegally and would also penalize people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants, all similar to Arizona's law. It also would make it a felony to "willfully and fraudulently" present false documentation when applying for a job.

The Georgia immigration debate coincides with a federal appeals court decision Monday to uphold a stay blocking major parts of Arizona's tough immigration law. Ramsey has said the language in his bill differs significantly from Arizona's and that he is confident it will stand up to any legal challenges.

Georgia is one step away from joining Utah this year in passing a tough crackdown on illegal immigration similar to Arizona's.

Arizona passed a law several years ago that requires many private employers to use E-Verify.

The impact

If signed into law by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, the immigration bill passed Thursday by the Legislature would:

- Authorize law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of certain criminal suspects and allow them to detain those found to be in the country illegally

- Penalize people who "knowingly and intentionally" transport or harbor illegal immigrants.

- Require employers with 10 or more employees to use a federal database called E-Verify to check the immigration status of new hires.

-- Associated Press

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JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/15/11 - 06:47 am
0
0
The day will come when

The day will come when Georgia will regret this harsh measure. The labor provided by undocumented workers is invaluable to Georgia's economy. The hard work performed by these people who only want a better life for themselves and their families will not be replaced by documented workers in terms of quality of work or in terms of labor costs.

mickl
0
Points
mickl 04/15/11 - 07:12 am
0
0
JRHC, ‘The hard work

JRHC, ‘The hard work performed by these people who only want a better life for themselves and their families will not be replaced by documented workers in terms of quality of work or in terms of labor costs.’
You might be correct because many able bodied people prefer welfare too working. Cut off welfare to able bodied people and they will need a job or go hungry. I feel for the illegals but they are here illegally.

seenitB4
81914
Points
seenitB4 04/15/11 - 07:15 am
0
0
Well Mr Cain.....Just open up

Well Mr Cain.....Just open up your area in SouthGa. & feed/clothe/give them medical treatment/free education....also a decent place to live & we will pat you on the back & say what a guy!!!
THAT IS THE PROBLEM....we just can't afford it.......but if YOU can....go right ahead.... because after all, they just want a better life, so YOU give it to them.

Runner46
0
Points
Runner46 04/15/11 - 07:41 am
0
0
I like this bill. HR-87 is a

I like this bill. HR-87 is a big step forward for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. No more under the table deals for wages (with businesses having over 10 employees anyway.) It's just such a shame that the lax federal immigration enforcement of our interior required such a measure. Illegal immigration is remapant across all our states. Now, Georgia can do the job that the feds cannot or will not do. Follow the law. Check all new hires for legal status through E-verify!

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 04/15/11 - 08:03 am
0
0
Mr.Cain,what other crimes do

Mr.Cain,what other crimes do you support? Do you support rape? Do you support murder? Do you support child molesting? Tell us which crimes you support since you embrace I.D. theft,nonpayment of taxes,driving without insurance,driving without a valid license,medical fraud and countless other crime required to be in the U.S. illegally.

Ushouldnthave
0
Points
Ushouldnthave 04/15/11 - 08:12 am
0
0
Cain says that legal

Cain says that legal immigrants aren't as capable as illegal immigrants? What a strange and ridiculous argument. Criminals are better than those who follow the law? I weep for you.

deportem
94
Points
deportem 04/15/11 - 08:25 am
0
0
Illegal Aliens rob you and

Illegal Aliens rob you and me. We pay taxes to educate, incarcerate, provide health care for, provide foord stamps, rental subsidies, etc.
Take a look at the "Bookings" in the 4/12/2011 Aiken Standard newspaper. There are 5 Illegal Aliens listed as being held for ICE. 2 of the 5 for Driving under the influence. 2 more for 3rd degree assult and battery, and another for a driving infraction.
So what happens when one of these Illegals is in a car accident and hits you??? The Illegal probably gets a free ticket to his/her country of origin-not necessarily south of the border, while you figure out how to pay your medical bills that your insurance didn't cover.
Have you forgotten the North Carolina driver that was hit and run by an Illegal Alien in North Augusta? The Mexican fled the US.

justthefacts
20510
Points
justthefacts 04/15/11 - 08:37 am
0
0
JRHC, where you been. I kept

JRHC, where you been. I kept waiting for your comments on Libya. Thought you had left the building. Anyway, I think they are going to enact a "guest" worker program to handle your concern.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 04/15/11 - 08:40 am
0
0
JRHC,will you tell us what

JRHC,will you tell us what other crimes you advocate?

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 04/15/11 - 08:50 am
0
0
JRHC,you can go to immigation

JRHC,you can go to immigation offices and sponsor as many illegals for citizenship as you like BUT, that makes you responsible for them. Hurry on down and start signing your name to their applications.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 04/15/11 - 09:02 am
0
0
JRHC,we will be waiting to

JRHC,we will be waiting to hear just how many illegal immigrants you are willing to risk everything you have on their honor and hard work.

pwren46
187
Points
pwren46 04/15/11 - 09:12 am
0
0
It's a shame the States have

It's a shame the States have to enact legislation to enforce LAWS that our Federal Gov't is too sorry to do.
"Legal" entry into our country is "IMMIGRATION". "Illegal" entry into our country is a CRIME. Can you hear me now?

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 04/15/11 - 09:20 am
0
0
While I understand the

While I understand the frustration with the Federal Government not enforcing laws against illegal immigration I also understand the frustration with the contractor and his labor. With all the welfare checks, crazy checks, disability checks, food stamps and Section 8 housing and such there is not enough qualified help in the roofing and construction industry to get the jobs done without using the Mexian workforce. This bill will hurt the large contractors but not the small ones. They will reduce the size of their workforce to keep it under 10 and will turn to subcontracting where employees (legal and not) will receive 1099's. This takes the burden off of them for filing payroll taxes to Georgia and Federal. How many subs that do not own anything will just throw them in the trash-MOST WILL. In my opinion the best thing to do would be to reduce the entitlement payments by the state and federal government and make these people go back to work and maybe that would reduce the need for the Mexican workforce which is badly needed now.

PR
0
Points
PR 04/15/11 - 09:23 am
0
0
ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL. They
Unpublished

ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL. They will try to tell you its discrimination, but the bottom line is that its about breaking the law. You are welcome in this country if you come here LEGALLY!. Otherwise, GO HOME! Shame on Sen. Norrock and Fort, and the rest of the black leaders for trying to tie this to race. Don't you idiots realize that the illegals are taking jobs away from blacks because they will work cheaper. DO THE JOB YOU SWORE TO DO....ENFORCE THE LAWS AND CONSTITUTION OF THE U.S., QUIT SUCKING UP THE THE ILLEGALS HISPANICS!!!!

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 04/15/11 - 09:31 am
0
0
PR-how do you know that the

PR-how do you know that the Mexicans work cheaper. From what I gather they are paid on a production basis and will work from daylight to dark if you ask them to.

pwren46
187
Points
pwren46 04/15/11 - 09:32 am
0
0
I do agree that entitlements

I do agree that entitlements to those who will not work as long as Uncle Sam sends "me my check" need to be cut off. But I still maintain that "Illegal is "Illegal" and you can't allow undocumented aliens from any country to come and go as they please. Remember...terrorists are using these same avenues of entry into our country...and that is documented!

Labatt
0
Points
Labatt 04/15/11 - 09:45 am
0
0
Pay check from today

Pay check from today (bi-monthly).

Federal Income Tax $229.78
Social Security Tax $69.40
Medicare Tax $23.96
GA State Income Tax $85.47
Medical $85.59

You want to live here, pay your fair share too!

seenitB4
81914
Points
seenitB4 04/15/11 - 09:58 am
0
0
onlysane....Do you know what

onlysane....Do you know what opinions are like?? As we all have one....don't think anyone on here will stop posting THEIRS just because of your request....goood luck w/that!! LOL

seenitB4
81914
Points
seenitB4 04/15/11 - 10:01 am
0
0
2nd time is always

2nd time is always better.....hahah

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 04/15/11 - 10:05 am
0
0
So can I buy beer on Sunday

So can I buy beer on Sunday now or what? The Mexicans can sort out their own problems.

pwren46
187
Points
pwren46 04/15/11 - 10:48 am
0
0
As to beer on Sunday.

As to beer on Sunday. Governor has not yet signed the bill into law...but says he will.
Then the local government has to put it on their ballort for the voters to either approve or disapprove it in the local community.

pikeka
43
Points
pikeka 04/15/11 - 10:58 am
0
0
re: Augusta resident:

re: Augusta resident: HAHAHAHAA

onlysane1left
216
Points
onlysane1left 04/15/11 - 11:36 am
0
0
"onlysane....Do you know what

"onlysane....Do you know what opinions are like?? As we all have one....don't think anyone on here will stop posting THEIRS just because of your request....goood luck w/that!! LOL"

True, I have an opinion, but if I spewed nothing but hate and added lies about trends towards WASP's and southerners, is that something you'd be happy with?

mickl
0
Points
mickl 04/15/11 - 11:43 am
0
0
ww1949, ‘In my opinion the

ww1949, ‘In my opinion the best thing to do would be to reduce the entitlement payments by the state and federal government and make these people go back to work.
I just return from the doctor for annual physical and we were discussing the number of over weight people in the US. Put some of the folks on the entitlement programs to work and it will get some of the lard off their butts. Many on the entitlements are not over weight because they smoke, like King Hussein.

mickl
0
Points
mickl 04/15/11 - 11:47 am
0
0
only, ‘True, I have an

only, ‘True, I have an opinion, but if I spewed nothing but hate and added lies about trends towards WASP's and southerners,’
I must have missed something because that is all I have seen you post.

paul v balducci
23
Points
paul v balducci 04/15/11 - 11:58 am
0
0
I like the fact that Georgia

I like the fact that Georgia is tackling the issue of illegal immigration only because I hope it motivates the feds to enact immigration laws that are sensible. Unemployed computer programmers in Atlanta are not going to relocate to Vidalia to pick onions. All of you non-racist supporters of this bill who insist you favor immigrants so long as they are legal, I challenge you to show me where in the immigration law Georgia employers can sponsor foreign labor that meets their labor shortages. The H-2A visa is for temporary agricultural workers and the feds allow 66,000 per year for the whole country when there are approximately a million and a half agricultural workers. How are the farmers supposed to get the labor they need? Ask a government official and they will tell you the answer is to "just pay higher wages". These people have never had to meet a payroll. Business owners don't just make up a wage they are willing to pay, labor costs are driven by supply and demand and are not created out of thin air. When the government needs more money they just print more, a luxury a business owner does not have.

seenitB4
81914
Points
seenitB4 04/15/11 - 12:16 pm
0
0
onlysane....You just love the

onlysane....You just love the give/take on here with us...now doncha??lol
Rednecks/southern whites get blasted on here ALL the time & you know that...My redneck-country boy husband says it will never change, I think he's right....so let us enjoy the jib-jab, cause we "ain't" a-changing....shonuff-noway-nohow... seeya..got to cook up some grits/gravy for my good oleboy!!! "O)...& collards!

freebird
0
Points
freebird 04/15/11 - 12:30 pm
0
0
oh dear white folks...come to

oh dear white folks...come to this land in droves, nearly destroy the natives...but can't stand the "illegal's"....europeans have been illegal since 1492

JesusSavesAtCitiBank
2
Points
JesusSavesAtCitiBank 04/15/11 - 01:23 pm
0
0
Except for native Americans,

Except for native Americans, all of us are from immigrant stock - people that built this country and provide the freedom for narrow-minded people to criticize immigrants. I am not Hispanic, and am a 3rd-generation citizen. Very few people support ILLEGAL immigration. However, the Republicans have spun illegal immigration to encompass all people (particularly those that are not white and older) to be a "bad thing." Sad….remember, folks, you could be next in the group that is targeted.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 04/15/11 - 01:53 pm
0
0
Paul this bill is going to

Paul this bill is going to make you a millionaire, congrats.. Many illegals have been flooding in without so much as giving you one dime to stay out of trouble now they will be lining up at your door. As far as having enough employees needed to bring in the crops our budget for all the entitled is about to be chopped too. I wonder if these entitled will do the work the "illegals" have been doing as well? My guess is they won't and we will have a labor & quality control problem. Hopefully you can streamline your operations to get as many of the illegal’s, legal enough to work cause if we don’t we are going to see greatly increased food and manufacturing costs.
We appreciate immigrants that come here and pay immigration attorneys to get their paperwork straight, but this bill came about because too many drug smugglers and now even terrorist were able to mix into the flood of illegals. It became a national security matter and we held off on this as long as we could. Now it’s a matter of America’s survival and our Intel says we may not survive them after all.

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