Friday, January 28, 2011


Georgia state lawmakers filed this Wednesday immigration legislation similar to that of Arizona to be considered for ratification. The bill also proposes to bar babies born to undocumented mothers from becoming American citizens. While the latter part contradicts the 14th Amendment to the United States constitution, it did not stop the Georgia lawmakers from introducing it (didn't they swear to uphold the constitution?)
A letter from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service expressed concern about Georgia and 20 other state legislatures that are proposing bills that would offer punitive treatment to undocumented immigrants and their young children.
'For people of faith committed to loving the sojourners in their congregations and communities as God instructs, it is devastating to see immigrants and their children placed at further risk,' stated Jeffrey Hawks, LIRS assistant director for education and outreach, in the Tuesday letter. At least someone is concerned about true Christian values.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Parmesh N. Dixit, age 40, an immigration attorney in Alpharetta, was arraigned yesterday on 28 counts of visa fraud, a count of conspiracy and 42 counts of alien harboring for the purpose of private financial gain, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta.
According to U.S. Attorney Sally Yates, Dixit lied about his client's qualifications to obtain work visas for them -- the government contends that he used his knowledge of the U.S. immigration laws to fraudulently manipulate the system for dozens of clients. He allegedly charged his clients higher than normal fees, telling them he could get them unmerited "green cards" that would give them permanent resident status.
He was arraigned and released on a $50,000 secured bond and ordered to surrender his U.S. and U.K. passports. He faces a fine of up to a $250,000 on each count, and up to a decade in prison on each count.
If the charges are sustained against him, it is likely that all of this attorney's cases could be reopened and reviewed by the immigration service's fraud unit. What a sad reminder to clients to only use highly reputable attorneys and never fall for false promises about obtaining green cards without problems or qualifications. It is a tough road to pass especially through employment, but the rewards certainly outweigh the risks by doing it legally.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Georgia’s new labor commissioner, Mark Butler, is asking for federal funding to investigate whether government agencies and contractors here are complying with state laws regarding hiring undocumented workers. He sent his request to the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked his office what it was doing to comply with a state law that requires him to seek the money.
Commissioner Butler proposes to start by doing at least 100 random audits and post the results on He estimated those audits could cost $350,000 for the first year and $105,890 for each subsequent year.
Last year the Georgia legislators passed a law that calls for these audits to check whether government employers and contractors are using the E-Verify system that they are supposed to be using by law to ensure the legality of newly hired workers. The problem with the E-Verify system is that it is filled with errors and very burdensome for businesses to comply.
Another waste of taxpayers' dollars.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Georgia state's democratic senators are pushing to hold a series of public meetings to assess the impact of immigration on communities around Georgia. Sen. Curt Thompson (D) Tucker, who heads the Senate Special Committee on Immigration and Georgia's Economy, described its mission as a listening tour.
His goal is to hold between four and six meetings in different parts of the state to hear from community, faith, business, and political leaders have been invited to share their observations on the impact of immigration on their communities and economy. I hope it leads to something useful instead of the usual hate-immigrant rallies we have seen lately.


A dubious honor indeed but it appears that ICE's immigration detention center in Lumpkin, Georgia, known as Steward detention center (which is privately run) is the biggest and busiest jail in the country for people facing deportation.
On average, Stewart Detention Center held 1,614 detainees per day during the fiscal year ending in September.
Who is paying for this? Taxpayers, of course, with detention budgets for ICE at $1.77 Billion last fiscal year, to detain approximately 33,442 people in jails nationwide. Many of whom are held for very minor immigration and traffic charges. This, while ICE can release people on bond or even ankle bracelets to prevent fleeing, at a much lower rate.
Corrections Corp. of America is a $1.6 billion business based in Nashville, which owns and operates the Stewart jail, and their business is booming. Federal taxpayers pay Stewart County $60.50 per inmate held at that jail per day through an agreement with ICE. That works out to $97,647 per day, based on the last fiscal year's average daily inmate count. Lumpkin county, however, keeps only 85 cents per inmate per day for its administrative costs and pays CCA the rest, or $59.65 per inmate per day. Since 2007, the county has collected about $1.7 million through this arrangement, county officials said. That represents more than half of the county's $3 million annual operating budget.
Who said immigrants are hurting business?

Monday, January 17, 2011


In contrast to what the anti-immigrants are saying in rhetoric, a new report for the Migration Policy Institute concludes that the economic role of low-skilled immigrants produces positive economic benefit to the U.S.
The report, "Immigration Policy and Less-Skilled Workers in the United States: Reflections on Future Directions for Reform", created by Georgetown Public Policy Institute Professor Harry Holzer (a former chief economist for the Department of Labor) finds that the benefits of low-skilled immigration accrue primarily to employers (who benefit from paying lower wages), and to both higher- and lower-income consumers, who purchase the goods and services less-skilled immigrants produce. The costs are borne by low-skilled native and earlier-arrived immigrant workers who must compete with these immigrants for jobs generally appear to be quite modest. There are also fiscal costs and benefits to federal, state and local governments but these generally turn more positive over the long run and across generations.
According to the report, immigrants’ negative impacts on U.S. workers are muted by a range of factors, including that low-skilled immigrant workers are themselves consumers of U.S. goods and services (and thus job creators)and the fact that employers adjust their production techniques to make use of the greater supply of less-skilled labor available.
Holzer, a lead economist, argues that providing a pathway to legal status and citizenship for the low-skilled workers already here will provide economic benefits to the U.S. He also proposes to create temporary visas for low-skilled workers (temporary workers or guest worker visas that is missing from our immigration laws), and ensuring flexibility in the numbers admitted to comply with economic supply and demand in the market.
We have been saying all these things for a very long time against the anti-immigrationists -- and are glad that finally we have the hard research to back it up. Not that it would stop the antis from their rhetoric.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


January 10th marks the entry of the new legislature to Georgia. Many of the legislators are not new but re-elected and the Georgia congress remains predominantly Republican. This time around, the legislators are not procrastinating and plan to introduce bills to combat illegal immigration, starting with two bills that were filed in the previous session and were not yet voted on. The first one would ban the undocumented from attending state colleges and the other would make it illegal for government contractors to hire undocumented as labor.
During times of economic pressure, as we are currently experiencing, immigrants become a favorite scapegoat for the lack of available jobs, even though most economic studies have shown that the immigrant factor on job loss and availability is negligible. Unfortunately immigrants are an easy target in the south.