On Thursday, April 14, 2011, the Georgia General Assembly passed a harsh immigration measure (HB 87), similar to Arizona’s controversial immigration law (SB 1070). Since Arizona’s measure was signed into law, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit and federal courts have blocked many pieces of the law from being implemented. Specifically, HB 87 would:
- Authorize law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of certain criminal suspects and allow them to detain those found to be in the country illegally.
- Penalize those who “knowingly and intentionally” transport or harbor undocumented immigrants.
- Require employers with 10 or more employees to use the database called E-Verify to check the immigration status of new hires.
In a recent interview, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signaled that he planned to sign the bill into law.
LIRS, like many Americans, is frustrated about the state of the U.S. immigration system and recognizes the need to balance security and compassion in reforming our immigration laws. However, a patchwork of state laws is not a substitute for federal comprehensive immigration reform. Measures like SB 1070 and HB 87 will hurt families, communities and local economies and we urge you to voice your opposition. Instead, members of Congress should work in a bipartisan fashion to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.
If you are a Georgia constituent, please call Governor Deal’s office at 404-656-1776 and urge him to veto HB 87. Remind the Governor that immigration policymaking is a federal function and that this bill would undermine public safety, create a culture of fear, fracture communities, and harm the local economy.
If you live outside of Georgia, visit the LIRS Action Center and urge your governor to oppose bills that mimic Arizona’s SB 1070 and Georgia’s HB 87.