December 31, 2006

The New York Times on Senator Chip Rogers’ “The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act from May

Posted by D.A. King at 4:55 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

In Georgia Law, a Wide-Angle View of Immigration

Rick Lyman in the New York Times, May, 2006

ATLANTA — With dozens of states rushing to fill the vacuum left by long-stalled Congressional action on immigration legislation, none have rushed faster and further than Georgia, which recently passed a law that all sides describe as among the most far-reaching in the nation.

Rather than focusing tightly on restricting access to specific benefits or cracking down on employment or bogus identity documents, as other states tried to do, Georgia took the blunderbuss approach, passing a bill hitting as many areas as possible.

The new law requires Georgia employers to use a federal database to verify that their workers are legal, instead of using a voluntary system that was widely ignored. Recipients of most state benefits, including welfare and Medicaid, must prove they are in the country legally, although some medical services are exempt. Workers who cannot provide a Social Security number or other taxpayer identification will be required to pay a 6 percent state withholding tax, taken from their paychecks.

Jailers must inform the federal authorities if anyone incarcerated is in the country illegally, and the local authorities are specifically authorized to seek training to enforce federal immigration laws. And a new criminal offense, human trafficking, has been added to the books to crack down on those who bring in large groups of immigrants.

The bill, known as the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, was signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, on April 17 and will begin to take effect on July 1, 2007, with various provisions taking effect over the next several years.

Ann Morse, director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said no other state had gone so far as Georgia in trying to restrict immigrant benefits and rights since Proposition 187 in California (passed in 1994 and ruled unconstitutional four years later) and Proposition 200 in Arizona (passed in 2004). Both measure denied many social services to illegal immigrants.

“There are other bills in legislatures around the country that are somewhat comprehensive, but nothing as comprehensive as Georgia’s,” Ms. Morse said.

This came about, the bill’s author said, because Republican leaders in Georgia decided that public support was growing for such an initiative.

“We decided that the best thing to do was to take a lot of ideas and put them together in one bill,” said State Senator Chip Rogers, a Republican representing some of Atlanta’s far northern suburbs, who wrote the new law and spearheaded its passage. “The climate was certainly right.”

I hope that you will read the rest here…what we are already proving is that enforcement works…illegals are now leaving Georgia.