The legislature in Georgia has passed an illegal immigration bill which people are comparing to the one in Arizona, and of course along with it comes all of the fear filled rhetoric revolving around a state that dares to enforce federal regulations. The governor still needs to sign it into law, but since Governor Deal was a staunch advocate on immigration issues while a member of congress I would be shocked if he didn't sign it into law.
So just what does this new law do? For one it makes employers with 10 or more employees use the federal governments E-Verify system to check citizenship status. Critics of course argue that the multi million dollar taxpayer funded system is unreliable and imposes a burden on the employers. The same critics however seem to be quite fine with legislation in regards to healthcare, environmental issues and energy policy. Nope no double standard there. Whereas they find none of those to be invasive or a burden on businesses, spending 2 minutes to access a database utilizing government supplied software somehow is.
So what else is in the bill?
• Empower local and state police to arrest illegal immigrants and transport them to state and federal jails;
• Punish people who use fake identification to get a job in Georgia with up to 15 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines;
• Penalize people who – while committing another crime -- knowingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants or encourages them to come to Georgia. First-time offenders would face imprisonment for up to 12 months and up to $1,000 in fines;
• Establish a seven-member Immigration Enforcement Review Board to investigate complaints about local and state government officials not enforcing state immigration-related laws;
• Directs the state Agriculture Department to study the possibility of creating Georgia’s own guest worker program. Some Georgia employers have complained the federal government’s guest worker program is too burdensome and expensive.
The most curious item for me is the set up of a review board to investigate local and state government officials who DON'T enforce the law.
Finally, of course critics are promising Armageddon upon the state in the way of boycotts and lawsuits. One wonders what is going to happen when they run out of states to boycott.
Oh BTW a word of advice to our neighbors. Expect a sudden influx of folks with a southern accent. South American that is.