Wednesday, December 14, 2011


HB87 and immigration overall was a key topic during the recent legislative session in Georgia. For next year's legislative session, not a lot is expected to happen on legislation on new immigration issues, although there are a few proposals that will probably be discussed at the beginning of next year.
Some Georgia lawmakers (predominantly Republicans) who voted for HB87 are feeling the pressure from voters and would like to ease the requirements to help farmers, but I am not sure how that will be possible unless they repeal the entire law. Secretary of State Brian Kemp has lobbied for changes to help him and his staff deal with difficulties in complying with HB87 while issuing and renewing professional or business licenses. He would like to check documents only when new license applications are received, not for renewals and also would like to check the documents in a percentage of the cases as an audit mechanism, not for everyone. Right now according to HB87 it has to be done for everyone and there is not enough staff to do it.
A couple of other bills that will be considered next year is a bill that would bar undocumented immigrants from all state colleges and universities, which could possibly pass. Another bill would would require primary and secondary schools and medical facilities to record the immigration status of students and patients, which is probably either not going to pass or if it does pass, would face constitutional challenges.
It appears that Georgia Republicans are even worse than Alabama Republicans when it comes to immigration. Some prominent Alabama Republicans including the attorney general for that state have called for changes to HB56 in light of the public outcry and constitutional challenges.
I guess Georgia lawmakers would have to wait until the Supremes decide the Arizona case.

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