Friday, July 12, 2024

Georgia Passes Tough Anti-Immigrant Bill

Last week, the state of Georgia became the latest to follow in Arizona’s footsteps when it passed an immigration law targeting undocumented workers.

House Bill 87 or the Georgia Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act, would allow police officers to question the immigration status of anyone they detain and requires employers to verify the eligibility of newly hired workers through the E-Verify database.

The House and Senate chambers passed the bill in the final hours of the state’s legislative session.  Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has yet to signal whether he will sign it or not, but as a Congress member he previously supported the E-Verify program.

“This law threatens the safety and security of all Georgians by diverting already limited resources away from law enforcement’s primary responsibility to provide protection and promote public safety in the community,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, project director of the ACLU of Georgia National Security/Immigrants’ Rights. “This ill-conceived law sends a clear message to communities that the authorities are not to be trusted, making them less likely to come forward as survivors of or witnesses to crime.”

Proponents of the law say it is different from Arizona’s because it does not require police officers to question the immigration status of a suspect, it only “authorizes”  them to do so and only if that person is suspected of a serious crime.  For example, a person detained for a broken taillight would not make the cut for an immigration check.

Utah also passed a harsh immigration law earlier this year that forces law enforcement officials to check the legal status of anyone they suspect of a serious crime.  Another part of that law calls for a guest worker program that would grant laborers from the Mexican border state of Nuevo Leon two-year working permits. Arizona came under fire over SB 1070 by Latino civil rights groups and is now facing a federal lawsuit.  A federal judge blocked the most controversial part of the law from going into effect, an injunction that was recently upheld by an appeals court.

Critics say the Georgia law will face a similar fate and that it promotes racial profiling of Hispanics.

“Georgia’s HB 87 is an unconstitutional and costly measure that will jeopardize the public safety of all Georgians, violate their civil rights and subject Georgia’s Latinos and newcomers to discrimination,” the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, a leading Latino non-profit organization, said in a statement.

The bill will automatically become law in 40 days if the Governor does not sign or veto it.

“The bill contains several unconstitutional provisions that attempt to supersede federal immigration laws and will likely result in expensive litigation for Georgia, as it has in Arizona with the terribly flawed SB 1070 measure,” the group added.

The Epoch Times

Hispanically Speaking News



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