Perdue Signs Immigration Bill

AP, May 14, 2009

Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed a bill that would penalize local governments for failing to check the immigration status of people that they hire and those receiving public benefits.

The measure is designed to put teeth in a 2006 law cracking down on illegal immigration in Georgia. That law required governments and companies that do government business to use federal databases to check the immigration status of those that they hire. But there was no penalty for failing to do so.

GOP lawmakers said some local governments were ignoring the law. Under the new measure, governments that fail to run the checks could lose funds in the state budget. The new law takes effect Jan. 1.

[Editor’s Note: The text of this bill, HB 2, as passed by the House and Senate can be read here.]


Georgia’s crackdown on illegal immigration will continue if Gov. Sonny Perdue signs into law a measure approved by the General Assembly requiring more jail checks that could lead to deportation.

{snip}

The measure, House Bill 2, updates sections of the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act of 2006, a comprehensive crackdown on illegal immigration in Georgia. It is awaiting Perdue’s signature.

Georgia law already requires jailers to check legal status and report any illegal immigrants charged with a felony, DUI or driving without a license. Under House Bill 2, jailers also would be required to alert federal agents when they encounter an illegal immigrant charged with misdemeanors of a “high and aggravated nature.”

In addition, the bill requires that public employers and contractors use a federal database to verify that new hires are not illegal immigrants, and that those who receive public benefits–from welfare to a business license–are in the U.S. legally. Local governments that don’t comply could lose state road-building money, the measure says.

Jerry Gonzalez, head of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, called the bill a waste of time. {snip}

“The bottom line is that immigration reform is coming,” Gonzalez said.

{snip}

AN OVERVIEW

Outcome of immigration-related bills in this year’s Legislature

Passed:

H.B. 2: Broadens conditions for jailers to check the legal status of inmates, could lead to more deportations. Also, requires all government employers to use the federal E-Verify database to check the legal status of new hires. Requires governments to use the federal SAVE database to check legal status of those seeking public benefits. Governments could lose state road-building dollars if they don’t.

S.B. 86: Requires proof of citizenship to register to vote.

S.B. 20: Prohibits local governments from establishing “sanctuary policies.” Requires local officials to cooperate with federal agents to report immigration status. Threatens withholding of state dollars for non-compliance.

Failed:

S.B. 67: English-only driver’s license tests.

S.B. 136: Rapid deportation from state prisons.

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