Friday, April 15, 2011
GEORGIA LEGISLATURE PASSES HB87
Last night the Georgia legislature passed HB 87, the Arizona anti-immigration copycat bill. The bill allows local police to investigate the immigration status of individuals and requires businesses to verify work eligibility of new hires through E-Verify. The legislature ignored the state's $1.3 billion budget shortfall, and the fact that the costs associated with the bill have not been enumerated by the state legislators. Even though the Arizona law passed, it has not been implemented and has been deemed unconstitutional, Arizona lost a whopping $490 million from lost tourism revenue plus $141 million from cancelled conferences, including a "quarter billion dollars in lost economic output," a projected $86 million in lost wages, 2,800 jobs over the next two to three years and more than $1 million that the state has already spent on legal fees defending it. Plans for an economic boycott of Georgia are also reportedly underway in a similar way to Arizona. Georgia stands to lose much more. The E-Verify requirement was stripped from the bill by the Senate on Monday, but the House put it back in on Tuesday. Last night, the Senate passed an amended version of bill (by a vote of 37-19), exempting businesses with 10 or fewer employers from the requirement, which the House then approved by a vote of 112-59. Governor Nathan Deal has indicated he will sign the bill despite public pressure and pleas from Georgia's business community, especially from the farming and restaurant industries. It is not surprising that he will not veto it because he has such an anti-immigrant track record in Congress. All Georgia businesses with more than 10 employees will have to now start using E-Verify unless injunctions will be issued on that ground. Businesses with more than 10 employees who wish to learn how this will affect them, please contact our office at 770-913-0800 or go to the Atlanta office webpage at: http://www.visalaw.com/atlanta.html. Law suits are sure to follow this legislature. Please also contact our office if you are an injured party (individual, business owner, association) who is interested to sue on this.