June 29, 2011

HB 87: A section-by-section synopsis/explanation of Georgia’s immigration/employment/public benefits enforcement law

Posted by D.A. King at 7:35 am - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

WikiMedia Commons

Below is a section-by-section synopsis/explanation of Georgia’s HB 87 immigration enforcement law

You can read the entire law for yourself HERE

Section 1

Simply cites the title of the Act: the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011. (Note from D.A. – we think the title says a lot)

Section 2

Provides definitions of terms used in the Act such as: “Commissioner means the Commissioner of the Department of Labor. Contractor means a person or entity that enters into a contract for the physical performance of services with a public employer.” Also others including “’Federal work authorization program’ means any of the electronic verification of work authorization programs operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security or any equivalent federal work authorization program operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security to verify employment eligibility information of newly hired employees, commonly known as E-Verify, or any subsequent replacement program.” It also defines “Public employer and Subcontractor and sub-subcontractor.
(Note: Dont’ get me started on the term “sub-subcontractor”)

Section 3

Alters the existing state law from 2006 (the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act – SB 529) dealing with requirements that public employers (think Atlanta, city of, DeKalb County or Georgia Dept. of Transportation…) and their contractors (think Turner Construction and Zebra Construction and the Cobb County Courthouse project) use the no-cost federal E-Verify system to verify work eligibility of newly hired employees. NOTE: AS OF JULY 2007 ALL PUBLIC EMPLOYERS AND THEIR CONTRACTORS MUST USE E-VERIFY, REGARDLESS OF NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES. HB 87 DID NOT CHANGE THAT REQUIREMENT. Provides for compliance audits and penalties for both entities. Also provides for public internet posting of E-Verify and compliance information.

Repeated Non-compliance on the part of political subdivisions can result in a 10% reduction of state funding. Contractors – of any level – found to be in violation can be prohibited from entering into a public contract for 12 months. (Note: Lobbyists from the Association County Commissioners Georgia (ACCG), the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) and the Associated General Contractors were successful in creating much of the language of this section. While it is an improvement because it provides for audits, tracking and some penalties, it will be addressed in the future to make it even tougher)

Section 4

Creates a new Georgia crime in existing identity fraud law– “aggravated identity fraud” for use of false ID to obtain employment: “…A person commits the offense of aggravated identity fraud when he or she willfully and fraudulently uses any counterfeit or fictitious identifying information concerning a real, fictitious, or deceased person with intent to use such counterfeit or fictitious identifying information for the purpose of obtaining employment.” (This is a huge deterrent for illegal aliens to attempt to take a job in Georgia. In short, this is a very notable section that will drive black-market labor out of Georgia and deter many illegal aliens from coming).

Section 5

Provides for very stiff penalties for violations of the above Section 4: A violation of Code Section 16-9-121.1 shall be punishable by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 15 years, a fine not to exceed $250,000.00, or both, and such sentence shall run consecutively to any other sentence which the person has received. (Note: The sound you may hear is illegal aliens talking about stealing a job in nearly any other state besides Georgia)

Section 6

Changes two words in existing law and adds the new code section creating the crime of aggravated identity fraud into existing law that provides for exemptions to clarify Section 4.

*Section 7 (* Federal Judge Thomas Thrash has issued a preliminary injunction on this section thereby delaying implementation)

Creates Georgia crime for transporting and harboring an illegal alien when committing a seperate state or federal crime and defines both offenses. Transporting and harboring an illegal alien is already illegal under federal law.

* Section 8 (* Federal Judge Thomas Thrash has issued a preliminary injunction on this section thereby delaying implementation. Local law enforcement alreay has authority to enforce immigration law)

Allows any Georgia peace officer to verify a suspect’s immigration status when investigating violation of a state or federal crime when the suspect cannot provide proof of legal presence in the United States including a driver’s license, Georgia ID card. Allows officers to take any action authorized by state or federal law: “If during the course of the investigation into such suspect’s identity, a peace officer receives verification that such suspect is an illegal alien, then such peace officer may take any action authorized by state and federal law, including, but not limited to, detaining such suspected illegal alien, securely transporting such suspect to any authorized federal or state detention facility, or notifying the United States Department of Homeland Security or successor agency. Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to hinder or prevent a peace officer or law enforcement agency from arresting or detaining any criminal suspect on other criminal charges.(f) No person who in good faith contacts or has contact with a state or local peace officer or prosecuting attorney or member of the staff of a prosecuting attorney for the purpose of acting as a witness to a crime, to report criminal activity, or to seek assistance as a victim to a crime shall have his or her immigration status investigated based on such contact or based on information arising from such contact.”

A peace officer shall not consider race, color, or national origin in implementing the requirements of this Code section except to the extent permitted by the Constitutions of Georgia and of the United States

Section 9

Clarifies and states inherent authority of state and local law enforcement officials to send, receive and maintain information pertaining to immigration status of any individual and sharing that information with other law enforcement agencies.

Clarifies and states inherent authority of state and local authorities to enter into agreements with the federal government for the purpose of expanding inherent authority to enforce federal immigration laws.

Prohibits any ordinance or law stopping any state or local government from use of federal resources and grants ability of the state to consider incentives to local law enforcement agencies to take advantage of federal programs such as 287(g) and “Secure Communities.”

Restates existing authority of local law enforcement to arrest any illegal alien or any violation of federal immigration law when authorized by federal law.

Section 10

Expands and improves 2006 state law (SB 529) by requiring no fewer than 10 state Department of Public Safety officers to apply for 287 (g) training each year.

The original law only designated that an unstated number of “officers” must be trained without an annual requirement. In 2006, 12 officers were trained under this code section in a one-time event. This section will result in a constant stream of newly trained officers each year.

Section 11

Upon available funding, establishes a grant and incentive program for local governments to use the federal 287(g) or Secure Communities programs. (Note: some other states are trying illegally to outlaw use of these federal enforcement tools).

Section 12 (Note from D.A. King – this is the heart of the law and was by far the most contested and drew the most opposition from the ACLU, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Farm Bureau the Agribusiness lobbyists and the business community in general. The Supreme Court has heard an appeal from the United States Chamber of Commerce and the ACLU et al to nullify a very similar law in Arizona. The law was upheld. This section cannot be struck down by any court. You can read more HERE by any description, this is the key provision of the law)

Requires every private employer with more than 10 full-time employees (35 hours per week or more) to use the no-cost federal E-Verify database to verify work eligibility of newly hired employees. NOTE: AS OF JULY 2007 ALL PUBLIC EMPLOYERS AND THEIR CONTRACTORS MUST USE E-VERIFY, REGARDLESS OF NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES. HB 87 DID NOT CHANGE THAT REQUIREMENT.Monitoring and enforcement of E-Verify rules and regulations and the crime of knowingly hiring an illegal alien remains with the federal government.

The state law requires all applicants for the new issue or renewal of a business license (or occupational tax certificate or any other document required to lawfully conduct business) to swear on an affidavit to the issuing local government they are authorized to use E-Verify, enter the unique federally issued E-Verify “user number” and the date on which authority was issued. This must be done before the county or municipality issues or renews the business license or required document to do conduct business.

If the applicant for the business license does not have the same user number the following year upon renewal application, he must explain the reason on an additional sworn document and can be denied renewal. Penalty for false swearing is a felony and the Attorney General can investigate any violations and bring criminal or civil action.

Implementation is staggered: Businesses with 500 or more employees must comply beginning on January 1, 2012. 100 employees or more beginning on July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013 for businesses with 100 -11 employees. The number of employees is determined by the number of employees on January 1 on the year the affidavit is submitted.

Any county or municipality issuing or renewing business licenses or required documents must submit a report showing compliance and identify each license issued/renewed in the preceding 12 months to the Department of Audits. The Department of Audits shall annually conduct an audit of at least 20% of the reporting agencies. Note that audits are subject to availability of funding.

Section 13

Defines illegal alien: “the term ‘illegal alien’ means a person who is verified by The federal government to be present in the United States in violation of federal
immigration law.”

Much more importantly, this section also alters 2006 state law the 2006 Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act (SB 529) to require that “when any foreign national is confined, for any period, in a county or municipal jail, a reasonable effort shall be made to verify that the prisoner such foreign national has been lawfully admitted to the United States and if lawfully admitted, that such lawful status has not expired…upon verification that any person confined in a jail is an illegal alien, such person may be detained, arrested, and transported as authorized by state and federal law. ”

Prior language only required the immigration status check of alien prisoners charged with felonies or DUI or driving without being licensed or with a high misdemeanor. This was designed as a “Plan B” to Section 8 and went untouched by the federal judge who issued the preliminary injunction on sections 7 & 8.

Section 14

Provides additional state funding (10% increase) to county jails that have applied for or obtained 287(g) authority for prisoner housing expenses.

Section 15

Uses official “agency head” definition (see Section 16 to understand this better) and provides penalties for violation by an agency head of the E-Verify requirements for public employers and the use of the federal SAVE system to verify eligibility of applicants for public benefits which were established in the 2006 Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act (SB 529): As used in this subsection, the term ‘agency head’ shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 50-36-1. Any public official, agency head, or employee who violates Code Section 13-10-91 or 50-36-1 shall be subject to: A civil fine not to exceed $10,000.00; Restitution to the state or local government, whichever is applicable, of any pecuniary benefit received as a result of such violation; and Where such violation is committed knowingly and intentionally, removal from office or employment.” (Note, this will go a long way in insuring that the 2006 law is actually enforced and obeyed. It will save jobs, services and benefits and millions of budget dollars)

Section 16

Defines official ‘agency head’ as noted above: ” ‘Agency head’ means a director, commissioner, chairperson, mayor, council member, board member, sheriff, or other executive official, whether appointed or elected, responsible for establishing policy for a public employer.”

Section 17

Requires agency heads to collect secure and verifiable ID from applicants for public benefits.

Refines procedure in the 2006 law (SB 529) that requires applicants for public benefits to swear on an affidavit they are eligible for benefits because they are either U.S. citizens or lawfully present and eligible aliens by standardizing the affidavits and posting example of affidavit on the official Website of the Department of Audits. Allows for electronic submission. (Note: this section makes it much more difficult for all illegal alien benefits applicants to scam the system. It goes into effect on January 1, 2012)

Section 18

Provides for meaningful punishment of agency heads who intentional and knowing violation of above (Section 17 OCGA 50-36-1) requirements on administering public benefits: “Be a violation of the code of ethics for government service established in Code Section 45-10-1 and subject such agency head to the penalties provided for in Code Section 45-10-28, including removal from office and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00; and Be a high and aggravated misdemeanor offense where such agency head acts to willfully violate the provisions of this Code section or acts so as to intentionally and deliberately interfere with the implementation of the requirements of this Code section.

The Attorney General shall have the authority to conduct a criminal and civil investigation of an alleged violation of this chapter by an agency or agency head and to bring a prosecution or civil action against an agency or agency head for all cases of violations under this chapter. In the event that an order is entered against an employer, the state shall be awarded attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation incurred in bringing such an action and investigating such violation.” (Note this was badly needed to improve the landmark 2006 law – SB 529)

Section 19

Secure and Verifiable Identity Document Act.
Defines Secure And Verifiable ID documents: “Secure and verifiable document’ means a document issued by a state or federal jurisdiction or recognized by the United States government and that is verifiable by federal or state law enforcement, intelligence, or homeland security agencies official use and excludes consular ID issued by other nations including the Mexican matricula consular ID card issued by that foreign nation to its citizens living in the USA. The FBI has testified to Congress that the Mexican matricula consular ID represents a threat to the United States HERE

Only illegal aliens who cannot obtain valid official US issued ID have a need for these easily obtained and easily forged consular ID cards. D.A. King had more than one – (he was born in the USA and is not Mexican (two shown here) .

Allows state Attorney General to create a defined list of these accepted, verifiable documents by August 1, 2011. Only those documents approved and posted by the Attorney General pursuant to subsection (f) of this Code section shall be considered secure and verifiable documents. Unless required by federal law, on or after January 1, 2012, no agency or political subdivision shall accept, rely upon, or utilize an identification document for any official purpose – such as entering the state Capitol – that requires the presentation of identification unless it is a secure and verifiable document.” (Another note, this a giant pro-enforcement step forward in inhibiting the daily activities and ability of illegal aliens to present photo ID in various official circumstances, especially the illegals from Mexico, the largest segment of the fugitive population living in Georgia. The federal judge did not grant an injunction on this section. It will hit the illegal alien lobby quite hard)

Section 20

Establishes an Immigration Enforcement Review Board of seven appointed members attached to Department of Audits and Accounting.

Duties include: “To review or investigation of any complaint properly filed with the board; To take such remedial action deemed appropriate in response to complaints filed with the board, including holding hearings and considering evidence; To make and adopt rules and regulations. To subpoena relevant documents and witnesses and to place witnesses under oath for the provision of testimony in matters before the board.”

The board shall have the authority to investigate and review any complaint against an official or agency for violation of 13-10-90 (E-Verify requirements), 50-36-1 (use of the federal SAVE program for public benefits administration) or 36-80-23 (Sanctuary for illegals). Complaints may be received from any legal resident of this state who is also a legally registered voter.

“The board shall meet at a minimum of once every three months and shall send a notice to all interested parties of the places and times of its meetings. The board shall issue a written report of its findings in all complaints which shall include such evaluations, judgments, and recommendations as it deems appropriate.

Nothing contained in this Code section shall prohibit the Attorney General from seeking any other remedy available by law.”

Section 20.1

General statement that agriculture is integral to Georgia’s economy and that enforcement of American immigration laws will have an effect on agriculture. Also says the federal temporary guest worker visa system known as H2A can be improved and resolves to study how to improve H2A system and to study possibility of creating a state guest worker program. Requires a written report to the Governor on these items. (Note: this section was a last minute compromise provided at the request of several powerful South Georgia legislators who were not familiar with federal law. It can likely do no harm, but states lack any authority or ability to legalize illegal aliens or to make “guest workers” of them. Neither can a state legally deal with foreign nations to import workers. This is exclusively a federal issue. Even the ACLU testified against the idea in Utah. It is completely unworkable.

Section 21

Severability clause – any section found to be unconstitutional shall not affect the remaining sections

If any provision or part of any provision of this Act or the application of the same is held invalid or unconstitutional, the invalidity shall not affect the other provisions or applications of this Act or any other part of this Act than can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end, the provisions of this Act are severable.

The terms of this Act regarding immigration shall be construed to have the meanings consistent with such terms under federal immigration law.

The provisions of this Act shall be implemented in a manner consistent with federal laws governing immigration and civil rights.

Section 22

Effective dates

Section 17 of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2012.

The remaining sections of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2011. Except as otherwise expressly provided, the sections of this Act shall apply to offenses and violations occurring on or after their respective effective dates. (Note effective dates on section 12 for staggered implementation of E-Verify)

Section 23

All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

End

Read the preliminary injunction order from federal court HERE

Read the lawsuit from against the entire Act from organizations including the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), National Immigration Law Center, The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Task Force for the Homeless, DeamActivist.org, the Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center, and Paul Bridges, mayor of Uvalda, Ga. also: The governments of Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru HERE

June 28, 2011

VIDEO -Fox Five news in Atlanta on the HB 87 injunction yesterday

Posted by D.A. King at 10:26 am - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

Deal Vows to Appeal Decision on Immigration: MyFoxATLANTA.com

Federal Judge Thomas Thrash issues an injunction on two of twenty – three sections of HB 87 – most important, effective key provisions to go into effect

Posted by D.A. King at 10:18 am - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

WSJ story HERE

Judge Partially Blocks Controversial Georgia Immigration Law

By Nathan Koppel

Last week, we noted that the ACLU and other advocacy groups had filed suit challenging a Georgia law that is due to take effect July 1 and authorizes police to check the immigration status of suspects and to hand over to federal authorities anyone who is in the U.S. illegally. The law also requires businesses to verify that employees are eligible to work in the U.S. and criminalizes the transport of illegal immigrants.

The suit claims the immigration law oversteps state authority and opens the door to racial profiling of Hispanics, Asians and other minorities

Yesterday, federal judge Thomas Thrash enjoined parts of the law, ruling that the challengers were likely to prevail in their claims that federal law preempts Georgia’s right to empower police to investigate the immigration status of suspects. The judge has not made a final determination on whether the new Georgia law is constitutional.

Here’s a report on the ruling from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which notes the ruling marks the fourth time since last year that a judge has put an immigration law on hold amid constitutional challenges. (Judges in Arizona, Indiana and Utah have also done so.) (Click here to see yesterday’s decision in Georgia.)

Judge Thrash concluded that the Georgia law could conflict with federal immigration rules and “convert many routine encounters with law enforcement into lengthy and intrusive immigration status investigations.”

Yet, Thrash rejected several of the ACLU’s claims, including complaints that the new law would violate constitutional rights to travel and equal protection, the Journal-Constitution reports. The judge also preserved the law’s requirement that many Georgia businesses use a screening system designed to ensure newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States.

Still, the ACLU and other critics of the Georgia law claimed victory, contending they had stopped the law’s key provisions. “The judge recognized the serious flaws in the law in his decision,” Omar Jadwat, staff counsel for the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told the AJC.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s office said yesterday that the state would appeal Thrash’s decision to halt sections of the law.

June 3, 2011

ACTION NEEDED – Please call Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s office ASAP to urge him to create an HB 87 Legal Defense Fund as was done in Arizona.

Posted by D.A. King at 8:47 am - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

ACTION NEEDED Please pass this around to your lists

Please call Governor Deal’s office ASAP to urge him to create an HB 87 Legal Defense Fund as was done in Arizona. There, donations poured in from all over the nation from pro-enforcement Americans who have had enough of the race-baiting GALEO, SPLC, ACLU and LaRaza anti-enforcement network. About $ 4 million dollars has been raised in Arizona and is being used to pay for defending their SB 1070. NO PUBLIC FUNDS HAVE BEEN SPENT ON PRIVATE LAW FIRMS IN ARIZONA. WHETHER OR NOT PRIVATE FIRMS ARE USED HERE, DONATIONS FROM CITIZENS CAN BE USED TO REPLACE MONEY SPENT FROM THE GEORGIA BUDGET DEFENDING THE RULE OF LAW FROM THE CRAZIES!

Please call Governor Deal’s office at 404 656 1776 now. Simply say that you are willing to be one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans from coast to coast who wants to contribute a small amount to help fight the lawsuit filed yesterday in Georgia against HB 87. “Please tell the governor and his staff to create an Americans for Immigration Enforcement – HB 87 Georgia Defense Fund” so that I can donate and counter the well-funded open borders mob.”

NOTE: Arizona Governor Brewer’s Defense Fund E.O. can be accessed HERE.

June 2, 2011

VIDEO – Racebaiters sue to stop enforcement in HB 87…yawn

Posted by D.A. King at 10:17 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

New Suit Challenges Georgia Immigration Law

FOX FIVE TV

New Suit Challenges Georgia Immigration Law: MyFoxATLANTA.com

MEDIA RELEASE – The Dustin Inman Society condemns the anti-enforcement lobby’s lawsuit on HB 87 and calls on Governor Deal to an issue an overdue Executive Order establishing an “Georgia Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act Defense Fund” to which pro-enforcement Americans can donate to defer costs of defending common sense and the rule of law in Georgia

Posted by D.A. King at 1:10 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

Dustin Inman Society

MEDIA ADVISORY 2 June 2011

The Dustin Inman Society
www.TheDustinInmanSociety.org
3595 Canton Rd. A-9/337
Marietta, Ga. 30066
Contact: D.A. King
DA (at) TheDustinInmanSociety.org

The Dustin Inman Society condemns the anti-enforcement lobby’s lawsuit on HB 87 and calls on Governor Deal to an issue an overdue Executive Order establishing an “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act Defense Fund” to which pro-enforcement Americans can donate to defer costs of defending common sense and the rule of law in Georgia.

Dustin Inman Society president D.A. King today denounced the lawsuit to be filed attacking the concept of immigration enforcement in Georgia by the ACLU, the SPLC and other fringe groups that oppose an equal application of the law on the crime of illegal immigration.

“I am among the majority of Georgians who are sickened by the constant race-baiting and the smearing of our brave law enforcement officers who risk their lives to protect and serve. But, no one should be surprised at the baseless court action. These are the usual suspects whose hatred of American values and immigration laws is widely known and contrary to the majority of American’s principles and desires” said D.A. King, president of the Dustin Inman Society. “These radicals have no legal ground to stand on and have no trace of any shame” remarked King.

King worked closely with state Representative Matt Ramsey on producing HB 87 and lobbied to see the bill passed and signed into law.

King also announced that he and the supporters of his organization were calling on Governor Deal to establish a defense fund into which Americans across the nation can donate to assist in the court fight brought about by the open borders mob.

According to King, a similar defense fund was created by Executive Order in Arizona by Governor Jan Brewer last year. “Earlier today I spoke to my long-time friend and Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce – who authored the 2010 Arizona enforcement law – about his state’s success with financial help in the form of contributions from everyday Americans” noted King. “Senator Pearce confirmed press reports that the state has spent little or nothing defending SB 1070 and has brought in almost four million dollars in donations with from every state in the union.”

King expressed his dismay that Governor Deal’s staff has apparently not yet considered such a plan. “It’s a no brainer and most people are more than willing to help in the coming fight with the far-left fringe opposing our recent law. It would be a small amount, but put me down as the first donor if the governor decides to heed our respectful advice” ended Mr. King.

NOTE: Arizona Governor Brewer’s Defense Fund E.O. can be accessed here: http://azgovernor.gov/dms/upload/EO_2010-11.pdf
*******

May 24, 2011

ENFORCEMENT WORKS AGAIN – ILLEGALS LEAVING GEORGIA BECAUSE OF HB 87 VIDEO

Posted by D.A. King at 10:28 am - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

CBS Atlanta

Usual suspects still ranting and raving over Georgia immigration law

Hundreds of protestors lined the streets in downtown Atlanta in opposition to Georgia’s new immigration law. — Adelina Nicholls from the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights said they’re fighting for mothers and kids who will be affected by the new law. — “We are afraid but we are here… it will not stop the movement for immigration reform,” Nicholls said…

HERE

May 21, 2011

Associated Press mixes race and ethnicity and legal status…wonder why? Anyway- HB 87 is working as planned: illegal aliens migrating out of Georgia, growers looking for legal workers through long standing Ag visa system

Posted by D.A. King at 1:08 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

Immigration crackdown worries Vidalia onion county

Associated Press

LYONS, Ga. (AP) — Signs point to an exodus in Vidalia onion country. Fliers on a Mexican storefront advertise free transportation for workers willing to pick jalapenos and banana peppers in Florida and blueberries in the Carolinas. Buying an outbound bus ticket now requires reservations.

Illegal immigrants and their families who harvest southeast Georgia’s trademarked sweet onions are considering leaving rather than risk deportation in the wake of a law signed by Gov. Nathan Deal targeting illegal workers.

While most states rejected immigration crackdowns this year, conservative Georgia and Utah are the only states where comprehensive bills have passed. With the ink barely dry on Georgia’s law, among the toughest in the country, the divisions between suburban voters and those in the countryside are once again laid bare when it comes to immigration, even among people who line up on many other issues.

Sandra Almanza, 20, cried behind the counter of her mother’s store, La Michoacana, at the thought of leaving to protect her husband, an illegal immigrant from Mexico City and the father of her unborn daughter. The couple was finishing the nursery.

“We just finished painting her room, but we don’t know how long we’ll stay there,” said Almanza, a U.S. citizen whose parents originally came to Lyons years ago to work in the onion fields. Their store sells phone cards to migrant laborers and wires their money back home. “We really don’t have that many options.”

The crackdown proved popular in suburban Atlanta, where Spanish-only signs proliferate and the Latino population has risen dramatically over the past few decades. Residents complain that illegal immigrants take their jobs and strain public resources.

“The citizens of Georgia demanded action,” said Republican Rep. Matt Ramsey, the bill’s sponsor, who lives about 30 miles southwest of Atlanta. “They let their legislators know that this was an issue they wanted to see addressed.”

The new law penalizes people who harbor or transport illegal immigrants in some situations and allows law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of suspects who can’t show an approved form of identification. Using false documents to get a job will be a felony once the law goes into effect in July.

Private employers with more than 10 workers must eventually use a federal database called E-Verify to check the immigration status of new hires. That doesn’t sit well with farmers or many of their illegal laborers.

Drive three hours from Atlanta into vegetable country — also a right-leaning region — and many oppose the law out of fear it will drive out the workers, legal and illegal, who stoop to pull up the Vidalia onions and other produce that make Georgia farming famous.

___

There’s no easy way to harvest an onion.

Mechanized threshers and reapers can pluck cotton, peanuts, corn and wheat from the earth. Machines shake pecans from trees and sweep them up. But easily bruised fruits and vegetables require hands-and-knees labor for planting and harvesting.

On a dusty field near Lyons, clusters of Latino fieldworkers hunched over onion beds, snipping green stalks from onion bulbs in 90-degree heat. They placed the bulbs in a red plastic bucket. Each full bucket tipped into a truck earns workers 38 cents.

A good worker might fill 300 buckets daily, earning just more than $100. Legal workers brought in on temporary work visas get better pay.

They sweat through long-sleeve shirts, jeans, bandannas and hats worn to shield them from the sun. A thin layer of gray-brown dust kicked up from the field quickly settles in the nostrils and sticks to the skin.

Alfredo Perez said he arrived illegally from Mexico three years ago. He travels between Florida, Michigan and Georgia picking crops.

“I think this law is difficult because they don’t want to let us work here. We’re not delinquents,” he said. “We usually come here during onion season, but because of the law, we’re going to have to think about whether or not we’ll come back.”

Authorities face a decision on how strictly to enforce parts of the law.

Toombs County Sheriff Alvie Lee Kight Jr. knows the dilemma well. He’s responsible for patrolling the area. His family also grows Vidalia onions. Prominent famers want him to show leniency. An elected official, he may well face pressure from voters to target illegal immigrants.

He’s sympathetic to many sides of the debate. Kight said his family farm has at times been unable to get visas for temporary field workers, forcing it to hire local labor. That comes with the risk of employing illegal immigrants. As long as workers present what appear to be legitimate documents, employers cannot delve deeper into their immigration status.

He supports tightening border security to stanch the flow of illegal immigrants. Then, Kight said, the country must address the illegal immigrants already here. He didn’t know how to solve the problem, but he felt the country could ease the barriers to bringing in legal workers.

“We shouldn’t have illegals here,” he said. “But I also think it should be a workable solution. We need them here to work, but we want them to be legal.”

Onion farmers fear losing their workers, legal or not.

Delbert Bland owns Bland Farms, one of the biggest sweet onion growers in the country. He and his father started with five acres in 1983. The international operation is now approaching $100 million in sales.

Rather than rely on local hires, Bland’s farm has enrolled in a federal guest worker program and brings in as many as 350 workers from Mexico for the spring onion harvest. The company must pay for their travel, housing and utilities, and pay above-market wages. Bland considers it worth the cost when compared to the losses he could suffer if there’s a labor shortage during the harvest from April to June.

If local police step up enforcement, Bland predicted it could have a chilling effect on all immigrant workers.

He recently called the local sheriff’s office to complain about a motorcyclist who had repeatedly sped past his plant. When deputies arrived to stake out the speeder, it triggered a panic among the workers, one of whom came to talk to him.

“He comes in here and he’s as white as a ghost. And he says, ‘Mr. Delbert, there’s somebody out there, the police is out there. What are we going to do?’ And the guy’s legal,” Bland said.

Bland’s chief operating officer, Michael Hively, called the immigration crackdown a political distraction.

“It took the focus off a lot of issues that are more important,” Hively said.

Farmer R.T. Stanley Jr. of Stanley Farms grows roughly 1,200 acres of onions. Some of his workers arrive with temporary agriculture visas, while others are hired locally. While those workers must present paperwork showing they are here legally, Stanley acknowledged some of it could be fake.

He scoffs at the idea of U.S. citizens doing the work.

“I hire locals usually the first of the season,” he said. “They come out and act like they really want to work. You know how long they stay? Two hours. They say this work’s too hard.”

___

When immigrant workers arrive in town, they often knock at the door of the Southeast Georgia Communities Project in Lyons, which operates a food bank, distributes clothing and hosts English classes. Its executive director, Andrea Hinojosa, serves as a go-between for Spanish-speaking migrants and the English-speaking world around them.

She said it’s popular for whites to say they want illegal immigrants gone. Yet they also profit from their presence. Acting on Hinojosa’s advice, the local Wal-Mart stocked up on beef tongue and tripe to increase sales to Latino workers.

“They leave thousands and thousands of dollars locally,” she said of the workers.

Hinojosa gets phone calls from whites seeking cheap labor, for example, for help with yard work or cleaning.

“These are people who, I know, would not vote for some type of work visas,” she said.

Few are certain what will happen to the area once the law fully takes effect, but some consequences are already being felt. Almanza predicts her mother’s store will close if its Latino clientele leaves. Having lived most of her life in a town of roughly 4,000 people, she rules out going to Mexico City to protect her husband.

“You don’t know anybody,” she said. “It’s a large city, you could easily get lost and, you know, I don’t think I could stay there.”

Stanley said that if the E-Verify system disqualifies large parts of his workforce, it could spell disaster for the business.

“It could shut me down, I don’t know,” Stanley said. “Got to wait and see.”

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

HERE

May 18, 2011

See if you can detect the message the illegal alien remora have agreed on to try to keep their flock here in Georgia after HB 87 – translated

Posted by D.A. King at 1:45 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

TRANSLATION From the foreign language newspaper Mundo Hispanico on trying to convince the illegals to not migrate out of Georgia because of HB 87 HERE

Several activists communitarian proimmigrants and organizations insisted to the Latin undocumented people to maintain the calm and not to make decisions hurried after the promulgation from the law antiimmigrant HB87. These are some of their recommendations:

“We needed to maintain the calm and to make rational decisions, not based on the fear or the emotion. The HB87 will not be implemented until the 1 of July and we waited for demands similar to which happened in Arizona and Utah”. Jerry González, Executive Director of the Association of Elect Latin Civil servants of Georgia (GALEO) ——————–

“La Latin American Asociación (LAA) is very disappointed of which the governor signed the HB87, turning it into law. We are worried that it will cause economic difficulties for the state and many of our families. What we mean to him to our families is that, the first thing who we must remember, this law will not be effective until the 1 of July and that will be several demands that they will prohibit that this law becomes effective”. Jeffrey Mud wall, director of Operations of 
 Latin American Asociación (LAA) ——————–

“First, (the HB87) it is not law until the 1 of July and people must have a little faith, only right now we began the fight. They relax, follow with its life. They do not have to make drastic decisions without analyzing its situation. They speak with its lawyer if it is necessary”. Charles Kuck, lawyer ——————–

“We do not want that people flee from the state. Those that wants this law want that the community immigrant goes away. We think that we have the right to remain and that the immigrants are welcomes to Georgia. We animated to him to be united to the fight to form popular committees, committees of defense of the community and to work in each neighbourhood to protect its right to live here”. Lisa Adler, Amnesty International ——————–

“People need to know at this moment what is this law and to arm themselves with that knowledge and to share that information in her community, with its family and in her churches. (Thus) people will begin to understand what she is happening”. Helen Kim Ho, director of Asian American Legal Advocacy Center (AALAC) ——————–

“GLAHR asks to him to the community that does not let itself take by the panic against this law. This law can be fought and is necessary to fight it in all the fronts. And this law yes can be defeated and yes it is going away to defeat. State and local laws on migratory subjects normally have been countermanded by the courts because it does not correspond to him to the states, counties or cities to legislate on migratory subjects. That corresponds to him to the federal Government”. Adelina Nicholls, director of the Latin Alliance Pro Human rights of Georgia (GLAHR) ——————–

“We In this state Must right to have left where we have lived, worked and studied, some of us almost all the life. We will not obey a law that is unjust, that it only looks for to remove to our families and to criminalize our community. We will resist until justice prevails and HB87 and all the laws antiimmigrants are revoked”. Georgina Perez, student activist of the Alliance of Undocumented Young people of Atlanta HERE

HB 87 signing, courtesy of GALEO complete with howling mindless illegals and supporters

Posted by D.A. King at 8:44 am - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

HERE

Did you hear the Dustin Inman Society mentioned in the THANK YOU list? Me either.

And I won’t forget.

« Previous PageNext Page »