ATLANTA – Civil and immigrants’ rights groups across Georgia have rallied against the governor’s signing of House Bill 87, a controversial new law that mirrors legislation passed in Arizona, reports the Korea Daily.
“For us the bill’s passage is lamentable, as it represents a direct assault in the rights of legal immigrants in the state,” said Jong-guk Eun, executive director of the Korean American Association of greater Atlanta.
State Governor Nathan Deal signed the Arizona-style bill into law last Friday. The bill grants local police and business owners the right to check the immigration status of individuals against the federal E-Verify database.
There are an estimated 480 thousand undocumented immigrants in the state of Georgia, 20 thousand more are believed to reside in Arizona.
A number of local employers say the bill will have a negative impact on their businesses, particularly if it causes an outflow immigrant labor from the state. Insiders from the state’s agricultural sector say one of the results of House Bill 87 could be higher prices at the supermarket as businesses seek to compensate for lost labor.
Some Atlanta businesses are reportedly hanging sings in their storefronts that read “Immigrants Welcome Here.” One owner told CBS News that she planned to be non-compliant, and that the sign in her window was a reflection of her “disgust” with the new law.
Opposition groups say they plan to protest the bill when it goes into effect in July 1.