Thursday, March 31, 2011


While I was out of the country, the Georgia Senate kept busy - it voted 34 to 21 to pass Senate Bill 40, the Senate's version of HB87, while not as bad as the House Bill, it establishes verification requirements for companies with 5 or more employees to enroll in E-Verify (as well as all government contractors), and extends authority to local law enforcement officers to verify immigration status of people they encounter. Instead of forming a House-Senate conference committee to resolve a final immigration bill that would have public hearings, the Georgia legislature has been quietly trying to avoid this. SB40 has now been substituted with language from HB87 (as of the date of this blog). Both are Arizona style laws that are BAD FOR GEORGIA. SB40 now passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, and then it will go to the Rules Committee and could be before the full GA House of Representatives this week. Since changes were made to SB40, it would then go back to the Senate for Agree/Disagree vote. If the Senate agrees (very likely), then it would go to the Governor for signature. If the Senate Disagrees, then it would kick in a Conference Committee which will be charged to come up with a compromise bill, which would then be presented to the Legislature for an Agree/Disagree vote. Tough situation all around, and the legislature is doing all it can to pass this quietly without holding public hearings on these outrageous bills that do nothing to stop illegal immigration.

Monday, March 14, 2011


The Georgia legislature keeps coming back with additional bad bills (or at least proposals for bills) that are anti-immigrants.
Not only HB87 passed the Gerogia Congress, there is not a single good bill out there, all of which target immigrants. Not surprisingly, the bills' sponsors are Republicans lawmakers.
House Bill 59: Would bar undocumented immigrants from attending Georgia’s universities and technical colleges even if they pay higher out-of-state tuition (as the current law allows). This bill passed the House Higher Education Committee last month. Sponsored by Rep. Tom Rice of Norcross.
House Bill 296: Would require local school and hospital officials to count the illegal immigrants they serve each year under this bill. Sponsored by Rep. Josh Clark of Buford. This bill would create undue burden on local school and hospital officials (like they do not have too much work to do already), and is probably preempted by Federal law which requires hospitals to treat all emergency room patients, regardless of their immigration status or ability to pay. Similarly, all school districts must educate all children regardless of their immigration status.
Senate Bill 7: Would ban undocumented workers from collecting workers’ compensation benefits for on-the-job injuries. Sponsored by Sen. Bill Heath of Bremen.
Senate Bill 27: Would toughen existing laws to prevent state agencies and counties from hiring undocumented workers for taxpayer-funded projects in Georgia. It's already prohibited by current Georgia law and no proof of the State hiring undocumented immigrants has been shown. Sponsor by Sen. Judson Hill of Marietta.
Senate Bill 65: Would prohibit undocumented immigrants from collecting unemployment benefits (which is already state law). Georgia's Labor Department said Georgia does not have the problem the legislation is targeting.
Senate Bill 104: Very similar to HB 87 and SB 40. But it also would punish motorists who pick up day laborers under certain circumstances. And it would allow warrantless arrests of people who police have probable cause to believe have committed 'any public offenses' that make them eligible for deportation. Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga.
Senate Bill 174: Would require all jails in Georgia to participate in 'Secure Communities.' The program compares the fingerprints of people booked into jails against a federal database, and if an unlawful immigrant is determined they turn them to ICE for deportation. This is already done in Georgia. Sponsored by Sen. Charlie Bethel of Dalton.
What an awful collection of bad bills that will do nothing to combat illegal immigration, many of these proposals are already in the law. Waste of time of the legislature is not a huge issue for me, but adding idiotic requirements and additional burdening of schools and hospitals is outright crazy.

Friday, March 11, 2011


USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas told a group of attorneys general in Washington this week that the federal government wants to work with them to protect vulnerable immigrants from falling prey to fake immigration lawyers. Apparently, the federal government is also concerned about this and will help prosecute the offenders. This is encouraging news.
Atlanta will serve as one test site (out of six other cities including Baltimore, Detroit, Fresno, Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio) for a federal program to warn people about fake immigration lawyers who charge high fees and give fraudulent advice regarding how to obtain citizenship, green cards and immigration benefits.
Those of us who practice immigration law legitimately all have had clients come to us stating that a fake immigration lawyer gave them the wrong advice which caused their cases to be denied by USCIS and put them in deportation proceedings. Most commonly Hispanic people from Latin America are falling prey to notarios - that are not attorneys in the U.S. only notary public (which everyone can basically be), paying them a lot of money and relying on incorrect advice. In Latin America notarios are very respected attorneys and this population that many time is uneducated tends to fall prey to these scoundrels. At least the federal government is starting to do something about it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


House Bill 87 -- the bad Arizona style state immigration law that does nothing to combat illegal immigration passed the Georgia House of Representatives by a largely party-line vote of 113-56. Since the house is heavily controlled by Republicans it is not a huge surprise that they passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where a conference committee would be probably set to resolve any differences between this bill and the Senate's proposed bill. While it may morph to something different, this is such a bad law that it should not be accepted in any way, shape or form and should be vetoed by the Governor before it sees the light of day. I explained at length in my blog previously why this is so bad. You can find the blog post directly here:
We'll have to wait and see.