By Sasha Horne
A federal appeals court in Atlanta blocked two parts of Alabama’s law targeting illegal immigration Thursday.
Both Georgia and Alabama’s immigration reform laws have been challenged by immigrant rights groups and the federal government. The U.S. Circuit Court of appeals stuck down portions of Alabama’s law including a measure making it a felony for an undocumented immigrant to do business with the state.
Immigration attorney Charles Kuck says the decision sends a clear message to Georgia Lawmakers.
“The court of appeals is in agreement that states should not and cannot be meddling in federal immigration laws,” says Kuck.
Kuck says this week’s decision validates concerns in Georgia.
“The state legislature would be better focused in demanding that our federal legislators actually focus on real immigration reform,” Kuck added.
Perhaps the most controversial part of the Alabama law, requiring law enforcement to check immigration status during routine traffic stops is still in effect. The Court of Appeals is waiting on the Supreme court to rule on the Arizona immigration case before making a decision on Georgia’s law.
A national research association decided to move its 2013 annual convention out of Atlanta because it feared that international visitors and U.S. citizens of color among the 14,000-plus attendees might feel unwelcome due to the state’s immigration enforcement law, according to the executive director.
Read more at link: Convention Cancels Atlanta Venue Due to Immigration Law
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
News Anti-immigrant student bill passes Senate
Posted by Joeff Davis @joeffly on Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 2:38 PM
- Joeff Davis
- Sen. Nan Orrock speaking at a rally last week in front of the capitol in support of undocumented students.
The state Senate yesterday voted to pass Senate Bill 458, which would prevent undocumented students from attending any of Georgia’s 60 public colleges. Laws are on the books that already stop undocumented students from attending any colleges with a competitive application process (includes the top five state schools), as well as making the undocumented students — many of whom have spent most of their lives in Georgia — pay out-of-state tuition. The state estimates that one tenth of one percent of students in the system are undocumented or roughly 300 out of about about 318,000 students.
Chancellor Hank Huckaby of the University System of Georgia came out against the law in his testimony Feb. 22 before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying “I believe our current policy addresses the concerns some of you have that the System should ensure that all undocumented students pay out-of-state tuition, that no Georgians should be denied a seat in college if they were academically qualified because of an undocumented student, and that educating undocumented students would not cost Georgia taxpayers.”
Huckaby added: “Graduating more students is a key goal of the System as we work to help Georgia prosper. Even for those who are here through no fault of their own, it makes sense to me that we should educate them to the highest level possible. It helps our state economically, culturally, and educationally.”
Despite his testimony, the Senate voted 34-19 in favor of the bill, largely along party lines. No Democrats voted for it.
Yvony Diaz, 19, who moved to Georgia when he was 8 years old, said he was saddened by the vote, but held out hope that the bill could still be defeated. Diaz was brought to the U.S. by his parents when he was two months old and graduated from Chattahoochee High School in 2010.
“When SB 458 was passed on Monday, it made me feel under attack,” he wrote in an e-mail to CL. “It’s making me think that my dream of attending college here in Georgia is fading away. But I can’t think like that. I know we’re in the right side of history and justice is not being served.”
He said he’d move to another state if the bill passes before he’d consider returning to Mexico, adding that he speaks only a little Spanish.
The bill next moves to the House.
March 6th, 2012 – Democracy Now! – Freedom University: Undocumented College Students in Georgia Forced to Attend Underground School
Freedom University: Undocumented College Students in Georgia Forced to Attend Underground School
As Georgia votes in its Super Tuesday primary, the State Senate has voted to ban undocumented immigrant students from all public universities. Undocumented students from Georgia are already barred from the state’s five most competitive schools and must pay out-of-state tuition at other state schools. “Telling us that we cannot obtain higher education, that we cannot go to college or community college, even if we work hard and do our best in school, it is crushing dreams, it is crushing goals,” says Keish Kim, an undocumented student from South Korea who now attends Freedom University, an ad hoc underground school in Athens, Georgia, where university professors volunteer to teach undocumented students kept out of public classrooms. We also speak with Azadeh Shahshahani, director of the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project at the ACLU of Georgia. [includes rush transcript]
Students protest immigration bill
Posted: Jan 24, 2012 7:29 PM EST Updated: Jan 24, 2012 7:34 PM EST
ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) – Undocumented students said they will continue to protest any bills that could crack down on illegal immigrants.
One bill in particular, HB 59, proposed by Rep. Tom Rice, a Republican from Norcross, would ban all illegal immigrants from attending higher education schools in the state.
“We have been affected with HB 87, and this is just a complete insult,” said undocumented student Georgina Perez. “We already have to pay out of state tuition, we are already banned from the top five universities, there is no need for HB 59.”
Undocumented students like Gustavo Madrigal said it is not their fault they were brought to this country illegally and should not be penalized.
“I was brought here when I was 2 years old, now I am 20,” Madrigal said. “Education should be about merit, it shouldn’t be about undocumented status or socioeconomic status. We are there in schools working hard and when I am turned down to UGA and Georgia State solely because of my undocumented status that is wrong.”
The bill is currently in the House and has not gone any further.
On Tuesday, the students protested a meeting with the Higher Education Department, even though the bill was not on the agenda.
Madrigal said he wants legislators to know they are watching what bills are passed and will continue to show up to protest.
“We are going to fight, we are not going to let this go,” Madrigal said.
Rep. Pedro Marin, a Democrat from Duluth, said they will propose legislation this week to repeal HB 87, the immigration bill that passed into law last May.
“This law is causing an economic downturn for Georgia, and we need to make sure we make this great stay grow and be viable,” Marin said.
(AP) ATLANTA — It’s unclear whether farmers in Georgia and Alabama will face a shortage of workers due to tough new laws targeting illegal immigration, but some producers said they have begun changing their plans for planting and harvesting this year’s crops.
Some farmers said they might reduce the number of acres they plant or shift to less labor-intensive crops, while others are bracing for higher labor prices and have turned to new recruiting tools to attract workers.
“We’re expecting some shifts, but it’s a bit too early to tell,” said Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.
Georgia and Alabama have approved laws that have tough enforcement provisions that farmers say are scaring migrant workers away from the states.
Since the laws were approved last year, farmers in both states have reported labor shortages because migrant workers aren’t showing up and they say they can’t find other workers to fill the jobs. Farmers and state officials have said that some produce was left to rot in the field last year because there weren’t enough workers to help with the harvest.
Farmers have claimed not enough U.S. citizens want the jobs, but some said the issue is actually that producers won’t offer a high enough wage to attract legal workers.
Brett Hall, Alabama’s deputy agriculture commissioner, said nurseries across south Alabama are trying to find workers to fill about 2,000 jobs ahead of the spring growing season. Many nursery growers are staffing job fairs in hopes of attracting employees, he said.
Other growers aren’t ordering seeds or new equipment because they anticipate a labor shortage, he said.
“Before this law, migrant workers would just show up. They knew when they were needed,” Hall said. “That’s not happening anymore.”
In Georgia, some growers of the state’s famed Vidalia onions are planting fewer acres of the labor-intensive crop, which could lead to a roughly 10 percent drop in production, said Bob Stafford, director of the Vidalia Onion Business Council.
Stafford said it’s unclear if the smaller crop will mean consumers will pay more for the prized sweet onions because prices are dependent on many factors, including the weather and fuel costs.
Aries Haygood, chairman of the Vidalia Onion Committee, said he has reduced planting by about 15 percent at his farm near Lyons, Ga., because of labor concerns and other factors.
Haygood and some other farmers in both states are using a federal guest worker program, known as H-2A, which lets farmers bring in an unlimited number of temporary agriculture workers.
But some complain it’s too expensive and doesn’t allow enough flexibility.
Haygood said it’s also tough to get the timing just right and sometimes his workers’ visas run out before the end of the harvest.
Some members of Georgia’s congressional delegation have proposed changes to the H-2A program, notably allowing farmers to provide workers with vouchers to obtain housing nearby rather than being required to provide on-site housing.
Dawson Morton, a lawyer with the Georgia Legal Services Program, dismissed complaints about the guest worker program, arguing the real issue is farmers don’t want to pay a legal wage or provide basic housing.
“The H-2A conditions are hardly extravagant,” Morton said. “They’re so modest that most Americans aren’t willing to accept them.”
Morton noted that a report by Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black showed that some farmers believe legal workers are more expensive and won’t work as hard.
“Gary Black’s report shows that there is an attempt by agriculture to shape policy to get themselves as cheap a labor force as possible,” Morton said. “This doesn’t look like an industry that’s interested in complying with the law or that’s interested in paying a legal wage.”
Two of the biggest Vidalia farmers, Delbert Bland and R.T. Stanley, said they don’t plan to reduce their crops.
Bland has used the federal guest worker program for years, and Stanley said he would likely request a crew of guest workers to supplement his other workers during the height of the harvest.
“I’m getting them planted all right,” Stanley said. “But when it gets to be time to harvest them in April or May, I’m concerned.”
Rather than reducing acreage, Kent Hamilton, who has vegetable farms near Tifton, Ga., plans to increase his sweet corn, cucumber and bell pepper crops by 15 percent because he thinks other growers will plant less.
Hamilton has used the federal guest worker program for years. He generally brings in about 400 temporary foreign workers but is building more housing to accommodate 515 this year.
Darvin Eason farms blackberries, cotton and peanuts in Lenox, deep in south Georgia.
Cotton and peanuts can be harvested mechanically, but blackberries must be picked by hand, requiring a lot of workers for a period of several weeks.
“If you don’t pick them every day, you lose some. They start to fall on the ground,” he said.
A relatively small-scale farmer, Eason’s 4 acres of bushes produce about 50,000 pounds of berries a year. But having made a hefty investment in the bushes, he can’t easily reduce his harvest this year. His labor contractor has already told him he’ll likely have to pay higher wages this year because it’s going to be tougher to find workers.
Associated Press writer Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Ala., contributed to this report.
Minorities’ spending forecast $3.5 trillion in ’15
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Number of the day
That’s how much Latino, black and Asian American shoppers will spend on goods and services in 2015, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. Retailers like Macy’s are gearing up to sell more clothes, cosmetics and home goods to minority shoppers, and they’re seeking out suppliers who specialize in those markets. Macy’s predicts its sales of products from minority- and women-owned businesses will top $1 billion within two years.
“Manufacturing is a lot like bacteria. As long as you don’t kill them all, they’ll flourish again when the conditions are right.”
Economist Martin Holdrich of Woods & Poole Economics, on a rebound in hiring at U.S. factories. Manufacturers added 225,000 jobs in 2011, ending the year at 11.8 million – still far below the pre-recession level of 14 million in 2006. General Electric is boosting production of appliances in Louisville, Ky. Nissan is adding 1,000 workers to make lithium-ion batteries in Tennessee. Boeing hired 10,000 last year for its commercial aircraft plants in the Seattle area.
Startup Palooza, a competition in which entrepreneurs pitch their business plans to venture capital firms, runs today at Citizen Space, 425 Second St. in San Francisco. Pitches from companies like Patisserie Carmen and Skillville Games are followed by Q&A sessions with VCs and the audience. Organized by Startup Saturdays, the talkathon also features an hour on how to outsource technology development and Web marketing.