ACLU of GA – Jan.27.11 Status of GA Immigration Bills Before the Georgia Legislature

ACLU of Georgia

1900 The Exchange, Suite 425 • Atlanta, Georgia 30339

(link opens PDF in Google Apps)

SB 7 – “Hurt and Run” bill, Sen. Bill Heath

Status: Assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee

SB 7 would ban undocumented workers from collecting workers’ compensation benefits
for on-the-job injuries.

Would encourage unscrupulous employers to hire undocumented workers,
subject workers to unsafe working conditions, and escape accountability.

SB 27 – “Force Employers to Use Inaccurate Database” bill, Sen. Judson Hill

Status: Has not yet been assigned to a committee

SB 27 requires use of e-Verify by public contractors and sub-contractors and
establishes non-compliance penalties, including civil and criminal sanctions.

• E-Verify databases are loaded with errors. Businesses that use e-Verify report
that 10 -15% of eligible workers are deemed ineligible by e-Verify, and the errors
disproportionately affect lawful residents and naturalized citizens.

• Congress intended that e-Verify be a voluntary program. The error-prone and
inaccurate e-Verify databases are unable to handle mandatory participation by all
government contractors and subcontractors, resulting in lost time and resources.

HB 59 – “Destroying the DREAMS” bill, Rep. Tom Rice

Status: Assigned to the House Higher Education Committee

HB 59 would prohibit all 35 public universities and colleges in Georgia from admitting
undocumented immigrant students, regardless of their academic qualifications.

On October 13, 2010, the Board of Regents passed a policy limiting access to higher
education for undocumented students. The policy goes into effect in fall 2011.

• Denying higher education access to Georgia’s undocumented students fails to
capitalize on the state’s investment in the students’ K-12 education.

• Banning access to higher education inhibits economic growth. College
graduates who are likely to remain in Georgia earn higher wages and therefore
generate significantly more in income, sales, and property taxes. Their increased
earning power and disposable income stimulates growth in Georgia’s economy.

• Enforcement of this policy is a waste of resources. Only 501 of 310,000 students
within the university system were found to be undocumented and they already
pay out-of-state tuition.

HB 72 – “English Only Driver’s License Exam” bill, Rep, James Mills

Status: Assigned to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 72 requires administration of driver’s license exams only in English. This would
negatively impact U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents for whom English is not
the primary language.

• The bill violates federal law and the Constitution. By discriminating against those
with limited English proficiency, this bill could be found in violation of the
regulations issued pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as
the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

• HB 72 would violate federal transportation law and expose Georgia to federal
sanctions. Federal law regulating transportation funding specifically requires all
beneficiaries of U.S. Department of Transportation funding to take reasonable
steps to ensure persons with limited English proficiency meaningful access to
their programs and activities.

• The bill does nothing to improve public safety. The Georgia Department of
Driver’s Services offers the Road Sign Test only in English. All drivers must
therefore have the ability to read and understand simple English such as used in
highway traffic and directional signs.

HB 87 – “Show Me Your Papers” Arizona copycat bill, Rep. Matt Ramsey

Status: Has not yet been assigned to a committee

HB 87 among other things requires that private employers use e-Verify and establishes
civil sanctions in case of non-compliance; requires that state and local law enforcement
officers investigate the immigration status of individuals they “reasonably suspect” of
being undocumented; authorizes police to detain people for a period necessary to
determine their status and subsequently arrest those determined to have unlawful
status and transport them to a federal jail; creates criminal penalties for any individual
that encourages an undocumented person to come to Georgia or transports or harbors
them once they arrive; provides additional incentives for localities to enter into 287(g) or
“Secure Communities” Agreements; provides for a private right of action by any “legal
resident” against any Georgia official or agency for purposes of forcing them to enforce
provisions of the bill.

• Will hurt state and local economies, lead to a tremendous loss in tourism
revenues, and subject the state to exorbitant litigation costs

• Would lead to racial profiling, as it would encourage law enforcement to stop
people based on how they look, rather than based on evidence of criminal
activity. This would destroy trust and divert law enforcement resources away
from community policing.


For more info., contact Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director
American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia,


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