Monday, February 28, 2011


Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (R) fought against illegal immigration when he was a Congressman. But as governor, he is urging caution and pushing not to put an undue burden on employers as a response to bills that are proposed at the state legislature (for example to require all Georgia businesses to enroll in E-Verify). Deal is currently under pressure from business groups not to support these measures.
Deal's spokesperson Brian Robinson said that he wants to curb illegal immigration in Georgia in a way that would avoid unnecessary and costly court challenges. He also said that the governor has other challenges that are more immediate such as the HOPE scholarship program for pre-k student and the budget shortfall in the state.
Deal realizes that the state has limits in what it could do and that the reliability and accuracy of E-Verify is still questionable.
However, when he was serving in Congress, Deal co-sponsored legislation that would mandate businesses to use E-Verify. He also drafted legislation in Congress to block automatic birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants.
May Deal realizes that as governor there are more important issues to battle (such as the state's budge crisis) than pursuing bills that overburden the state coffers and do nothing to curb illegal immigration.

Friday, February 18, 2011


A bill sponsored by Immigration Anti Rep. Tom Rice (R- Norcross) that would prohibit undocumented immigrants from attending any of the state's colleges and universities has cleared the House Higher Education Committee. The next step for HB59 is for the bill to be voted on in the Georgia House, and then passed by the Senate if it does clear the House.
Currently, undocumented students can enroll in any of the Georgia universities as long as they pay out-of-state tuition (which is of course much higher and not subsidized and thus a great revenue stream for the schools). The bill proposes that potential students' names would run through the SAVE database to check on the validity of their immigration status.
Rep. Rice justified his bill because "There's no way of knowing ... whose spot an illegal person may be taking" - what a bunch of nonsense. Most of the undocumented students are not taking anyone's spot.
Chancellor Erroll Davis questioned the bill, stating that 'Our capacity is not being stressed by thousands of illegal students'. In fact, out of more than 310,000 students that were enrolled in the Georgia University System this past fall, only about 500 were classified as 'undocumented' and paying out-of-state tuition.
Right now South Carolina is the only state that bars undocumented immigrants from public colleges. Even Arizona's tough immigration law allows undocumented immigrants to attend if they pay out-of-state tuition. What a sad state of affairs if Georgia will join South Carolina in this. Is Rep. Price willing to reimburse taxpayers for the difference between the out-of-state tuition these people are paying and the subsidized in-state tuition others are paying?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said recently that caution should be taken regarding the state legislature's efforts to curb illegal immigration in the state, saying that he doesn't want Georgia to create any undue burden on employers. At least a more moderate tone among the Republicans that understand that it is a huge burden on many businesses to enroll in E-Verify that is proposed to be mandated for example.
Deal said that there were questions about the reliability and accuracy of E-Verify, and while he said that he has not taken a position on either Senate Bill 40 or House Bill 87, but suggested Tuesday that Georgia has limits on what it can do.
I commented on SB40 and HB87 earlier this month in my blog, and said even if it does pass (and not stricken down as unconstitutional), it will create an undue burden on all employers in the state of Georgia.
Deal insinuated that the legislature should be mindful that it must do 'what is within the power of the state to do' and 'to try to facilitate those who are trying to abide by the law and not become an undue burden on those who are trying to do what is right.'
He also opposed carving out certain employers (such those who use H-2B and H-1B visas) from the pool and giving them special rights.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


In order to not be outdone by the Senate, a few members of the Georgia House of Representatives brought another equally bad legislation, HB 87, called "Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011", although it does not reform illegal immigration nor does it enforce laws related to illegal immigration.
In a nutshell, this Arizona inspired bill will increases government regulation, creates additional burdens on businesses and could potentially leads to many lawsuits against the state.
The third section of HB 87 allows any legal resident of the state to sue any county, city municipality, etc. that does not enroll in and use E-verify to check all its new employees. E-Verify is a voluntary program to verify a worker's employment eligibility in the U.S., that is already mandatory for municipalities to participate in. Most Georgia municipalities participate in compliance. By the way, there is no evidence that any Georgia municipality hired undocumented workers. But this overreaching provisions allows any on to sue any authority on a suspicion alone that it doesn't use E-Verify. And, they can even recover all their attorneys’ fees if they succeed! What would stop all the immigrant haters out there to sue all the municipalities on the hopes that they will win? They have nothing to lose. Do the Georgia municipalities have extra cash on their hands to disburse? If yes, I would love to get my property taxes reduced.
The bill goes further to mandate the use of the SAVE system (the USCIS verification system of immigrants) in other areas. Problem is that the SAVE system is inaccurate in over 10% of cases which is a very large amount considering the number of entries.
If you thought you were overpaying for agricultural products in the state or other services (construction, landscaping, etc.) then you may be paying a whole lot more. According to Section 7 of this awful piece of legislation, if you are caught using a laborer without checking their documentation, you could be fined $5,000 to $20,000 and your vehicle would be sold at an auction. Oh, and you could face anywhere between one year five years in jail. If you club someone to death you may get a lower sentence than that.
This section also penalizes people for harboring someone who is undocumented (for example, a shelter for abused women), and also illegal to encourage someone who is undocumented to enter Georgia - yes imposing fines and jail times for these. Do I really need to continue on why this is crazy?
Additional provisions in this awful legislation includes other Arizona-adopted ones such as the Driving-While-Hispanic debacle -- police could stop any person against whom they have reasonable suspicion that they are undocumented(yes this is racial profiling) even in traffic offenses and of course turn them over to the immigration authorities for deportation.
This legislation also mandates every state agency to enroll in the voluntary-no-more 287(g)program that many counties do not want or cannot meet the requirements of.
immigration status, and then hold individuals subject to removal for 48 hours for ICE to pick, without training or deputizing them.
Not only all municipalities have to register for E-Verify, according to this ridiculous bill now will all private businesses have to in order to get an occupational tax certificate. This creates a heavy burden on businesses and also on the municipalities who will have to spend the funds to verify all this.
The bill also mandate anyone applying for a public benefit to present a secured photo ID such as a driver's license or passport -- how this will work for minors is beyond my level of understanding.
In sum, bad piece of proposed legislation. Whomever can help to assure it does not see the light of day - please do so by contacting your representative!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I have briefly discussed Georgia State Senator Murphy's SB40 in my previous blog post, but that description only touches on a couple of points on why this bill is bad to everyone and does nothing to enforce the immigration laws.
Actually, the bill does not specifically name that it mandates the use of E-Verify, but just refers to a "federal work authorization program" which remains unnamed (could be SAVE or another program, who knows), but let's assume E-Verify for argument's sake.
Murphy's anti-bill adds additional administrative document retention requirements on Georgia employers (yes, beyond the federal I-9 requirements of 1 year after termination or three years from date of hire, whichever is later), to require keeping the I-9 and supporting documents for five years. Does he offer some storage solutions with that? Not only this violates federal law and probably invalid, but they cannot enforce it, because the federal government (DHS/ICE in this case) enforces the I-9 compliance and it only bothers with the federal compliance.
Similar clashes with federal law come with his proposal of E-Verify document retention and if it passes this portion will probably be struck down because of the same issue.
The bill exempts employers who filed H-1 and H-2 visas (although no such visas, I'm assuming he meant H-1B, H-2A and H-2B visas)-- which will make many Georgia employers who already employ foreign nationals very happy.
Further, the bill takes a few of the Arizona law provisions (yes, those who have been struck by a Federal Judge as unconstitutional because they contradict federal law), mandating that all aliens carry with them evidence of their immigration status at all times (citing the Alien Registration Act of 1940 that no longer exist because there are no registration requirements).
Another relic from the Arizona bill that found its way to this one is the paperwork searches -- police officers could ask for papers from anyone they have a reasonable cause to suspect to be an "illegal alien", including people stopped for traffic offenses. Police would be able to stop anyone under racial profiling criteria and send them over to ICE to be processed for deportation proceedings. The Arizona judge determined that it burdens on the federal immigration enforcement process and priorities and it also a threat to legal immigrants that could be detained if they do not carry their papers.
As I said before, shame on a so called Republican that all he does is unnecessarily overburden and regulate private businesses and government agencies, in a time where we all could use a little breathing room to grow the economy.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Georgia State Senator Jack Murphy and other republican senators, filed a legislative proposal to require all private employers to use E-Verify. E-verify requires employers to check all their newly hired employees whether they are in the U.S. legally and eligible to work. However, the system is filled with errors that is rejecting even U.S. citizens.
The proposal includes exemptions for employers who use certain work visa programs, including those for short-term workers (agriculture H-2A visas and temporary H-2B that suffers from a huge shortage of visa numbers) and highly skilled workers (H-1B visas) from abroad.
This legislation would require law enforcement officers, during any stop of a criminal suspect, to verify the immigration status of the suspect if they believe the person is in the country illegally. If the person is determined to be here illegally, the bill would allow officers to arrest them and take them to a federal detention facility. Even though it is unconstitutional (which never bothered Murphy), and a similar law in Arizona was blocked by a federal judge, that didn't stop him. Additional proposed sections include assessing fines to non-citizens ($100 and/or 30 days in jail) if they fail to carry proof of their legal status.
This is another crazy attempt to regulate the federal immigration laws in the state level by over-burdening 90% of employers out there who hire legal workers. Too much burden and administrative cost to comply with E-Verify doesn't dissuade these people, none of which understands business I am sure. Aren't Republicans supposed to be pro business and anti excessive regulations?


According to a new report by the Immigration Policy Institute, a Washington-based nonpartisan think tank, regarding the 287(g) program in the South, suggests that the program is problematic because of conflicting messages from the U.S. government and local political pressure.
Overall in the United States, in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2010, about half the immigrants detained under the program for transfer to immigration authorities had been accused of serious crimes, such as rape and murder, according to ICE data. The other half had been charged with misdemeanor or civil offenses, or only immigration-related crimes. However in Cobb County, Georgia less than 10 percent(!) of those detained have been charged with serious crimes.
Cobb and Gwinnett counties authorities turned over to immigration authorities nearly everyone who could be deported, most of which for small traffic offenses or immigration violations only.
It's clear that the 287(g) enforcement in Georgia does not penalize most of the undocumented for being criminals -- it penalizes them for their immigration violations, which is Federal, and does not make us more secure.