Posted on March 2, 2005

Legislators Target Illegal Immigrants

Tatiana Prophet and Ryan Mahoney, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Feb. 27

The sponsors of six state bills that would bar illegal immigrants from receiving certain social services and holding certain jobs say they’re sending a message to Georgia business owners.

“It is not OK for you to break the law because you want to offer a lower wage,” said state Sen. Chip Rogers of Woodstock, who authored four of the bills.

Rogers and Reps. John Lunsford of McDonough and Roger Williams of Dalton, all Republicans, presented their views Feb. 19 at the annual meeting of the Christian Coalition of Georgia.

“For any employer out there who is mad at me for introducing this bill, I want to say . . . ‘I won’t back down,’ “ Rogers said.

Williams’ House Resolution 256 is the broadest of the six measures. Introduced Feb. 17, it calls for a constitutional amendment that would bar illegal immigrants from receiving medical care at public hospitals and other facilities, except in emergency situations; enrolling in public grade schools and colleges; or obtaining driver’s licenses and other permits.

“What’s illegal is illegal,” said Williams, who chairs the House Intragovernmental Coordination Committee, in a Feb. 22 interview. “I’m just trying to issue a wake-up call. The only way I can think to get a handle on it is to deny services. I don’t want to be hostile about it, but it’s very frustrating.”