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!

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