Apri l 15, 2011- Georgia lawmakers, in their final day of the legislative session, frantically passed a bill that cracks down on illegal immigration similar to the one in Arizona. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has said that he would support a bill that was similar to the one in Arizona.
The only large bill on the agenda for their last day was the immigration one and the Senate passed the bill 37 to 19 while the House voted 112 to 59 in favor as well. Those in favor of the bill including its sponsor, Rep. Matt Ramsey said their constituents want addressed the costs and social consequences that have come to Georgia because of the federal government’s failure to secure U.S. borders.
One stumbling block that caused much debate was the requirement that private employers use E-Verify, the federal database that helps check the status of new employees. Many service industry groups lobbied against the use of E-Verify and the wording in the bill. They complained that it would be too burdensome.
The Senate changed the wording in the bill and the E-Verify requirement remains but only for businesses with 10 or more employees. If a business is found to be in violation, they will have 30 days to get into compliance.
Those opposed to the bill said it was a federal issue and would harm the local economy and could most likely lead to legal action being taken for possible civil rights violations. If signed by the Governor the bill allows law enforcement to verify the legal status of criminal suspects and detain those that are found to be illegally in the country. It also makes it a felony to present false identification documentation when applying for work.
Georgia is just a Governor’s signature away from joining both Arizona and Utah in approving a firm crackdown on illegal immigration.