House OKs Surcharge on Wire Transfers From Illegal Immigrants

Greg Bluestein, AP, Feb. 14, 2006

ATLANTA—The House on Tuesday passed the first of a flurry of immigration bills, approving a proposal designed to tack a 5 percent surcharge on wire transfers from illegal immigrants.

The “Illegal Immigrant Fee Act” requires customers to show a pay stub, driver’s license or other proof they are in the U.S. legally. Failure to do so would result in the surcharge.

It’s the first of several attempts to toughen the state’s immigration standards to reach a vote this legislative session. Across the Capitol, state Sen. Chip Rogers is drumming up support for a broader bill that would deny state-administered benefits to adults who cannot show they are legally in the United States.

Opponents from both sides of the aisle tried to delay Tuesday’s vote, but Republican leaders seemed intent on passing the bill. House lawmakers approved, 106-60. It now moves to the Senate.

State Rep. Tom Rice, R-Peachtree Corners, said the bill seeks to offset the financial burden of the state’s estimated 225,000 illegal immigrants.

“It’s the idea of giving these folks, who are hard working, the opportunity to pay back the services they receive but don’t pay for right now,” said Rice.

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