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Showing posts from March, 2011

There They Go Again--The Georgia Legislature and Immigration

This week both branches of the Georgia State Legislature have been busy in trying to pass anti-immigration legislation. The curious part of their efforts is what appears to be a complete lack of communication between the branches and what their specific purposes are.
On Monday, the Georgia House completely eviserated the Senate version of the anti-immigration legislation by substituting, in whole, for the entire SB 40, with what it was HB 87. Unfortunately, the committee chair and the bill's sponsor were not completely truthful with the public, or with their committee members about the actual content of the "new" SB 40, better known now at HB 87 "Heavy." Sections 1 through 9 of HB 87 and HB 87 Heavy are identical. Section 11 through 18, and Sections 20 through 22 also are identical. BUT, there are two significant and otherwise unnoticed changes in Section 10, and in Section 19.
First, in Section 10, the House…

Why Smart State Legislatures Are NOT Passing Immigration Bills

We all read that the Arizona legislature has had its fill of anti-immigrant legislation, backing off passing any of the unconstitutional, anti-immigrant legislation proposed by immigrant basher-in-chief State Senator Russell Pearce. Now Kansas, home to the author of all of this anti-immigrant legislation, Kris Kobach, is the latest state to "just say no" to immigrant bashing legislation. We know why the Arizona legislature decided to not enact their most recent proposals--the Arizona economy has been devastated by SB 1070 passed last year, and the business community finally had enough--hand delivering a letter to each state legislator saying to stop the immigrant bashing.
In Kansas, a coalition of forces, including business leaders, community leaders, law professors, and religious leaders joined forces to point out ALL of the legitimate reasons why anti-immigrant legislation was tabled this week. The Kansas Business Coalition, lead by AILA member Allie Devine, is a grou…

Georgia Republicans Afraid To Debate Their Own Bill?

It appears that the two Georgia Republican sponsors of the Arizona Copycat Legislation, HB 87, have backed out of an appearance with two Democratic opponents to this job-killing bill on Wednesday, March 23 at the Georgia State University Law School. The focus of this particular debate was to be the cost of HB 87, something these Republicans have refused to acknowledge or discuss. In fact, when I directly asked them this question during my testimony at the Judiciary Committee hearing in the House last month, all I received back were blank stares.
On Wednesday, March 23, 2011, this event was planned: On Wednesday, March 23, 2011 from 5:30 to 6:45 pm, four lawmakers from the GA General Assemblywill come toGSU College of Lawfor an event entitled"Can Georgia Afford It? The Costs of Passing Immigration Laws at the State Level."**

The event will cover HB 87, also known as the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011.”This bill is the subject of much controversy, as…

Utah, What Have You Done?

Much has been made recently of the Utah Legislature's efforts in regards to passing a "balanced' immigration bill. Specifically balancing the hatred and bias of an Arizona "style" immigration enforcement bill, with a bill which purports to grant legal status to undocumented people and creates a temporary worker program.
The impact of this legislation just hit home here in Georgia. A client just came into my office to ask about getting the "Utah Green Card." This is exactly what I was afraid of when I talked with the folks in Utah about the proposal they were formulating to counter the anti-immigration legislation that was enjoying so much publicity. The Utah legislature has created a myth, a myth that will only grow bigger as rumors of the "Utah Green Card" circulate in all immigrant communities around the U.S.

What does this mean for immigrants and for Utah? I have no doubt that if the Governor of Utah signs this legislation that a LOT of…

An Open Letter to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston on HB 87

Dear Speaker Ralston:Likely coming up for a vote this week is HB 87, a piece of legislation entitled the "Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011." This bill is misnamed, as it does not reform illegal immigration and it does not increase or better enforcement against illegal immigration over current state and federal law.I strongly urge you to table this legislation until the sponsors of this legislation comply with state law and provide a Fiscal Note for this legislation, and even more importantly, provide their fellow legislators the factual basis for the onerous, tax increasing, unconstitutional, and economy destroying provisions in this bill.I understand that the Georgia Legislature believes it must do “something” on immigration in this session.But “something” need not be legislation that destroys Georgia’s image as a welcoming state, that impedes our state’s ability to attract foreign investment, increases the burden on local governments, and which will c…