Georgia state lawmakers are considering tough anti-immigrant bills similar to Arizona’s draconian and controversial SB 1070, which passed last year.
Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal supports tough laws on immigration. State legislators are proposing two anti-immigrant bills, House Bill 87 and Senate Bill 40. Both resemble hard enforcement on immigration similar to Arizona’s.
For example the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011” would require businesses to use the E-verify system to insure employees are U.S. citizens. It also allows police that apprehend a suspect for any crime, including a traffic violation, to check their immigration status. The bill would also make it against the law to “knowingly transport an illegal immigrant” in the state. It also requires any agency administering public help to require proof of citizenship.
Immigrant rights activist say the legislation is racist.
Teodoro Maus, president of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, said the bill would strip people’s civil, human and constitutional rights. They all go out the window, he said.
Last week, more than 3,000 people surrounded the State Capitol in Atlanta to rally for immigrant rights and to protest the anti-immigrant bills. Activists say they’ve already compiled a list of companies, groups and celebrities that have pledged to boycott Georgia if the proposed bills are passed.
In Duluth, a suburb outside of Atlanta, the City Council passed a resolution to support the city’s Immigrant Rights Coalition, in its efforts for equal rights. Activisits say the grassroots campaign sends a message that Duluth is no place for anti-immigrant sentiment.
The proposal was brought to the council with the support of 30 Duluth organizations and more than 1,000 people.
Coalition members disagree with the current state legislation, which they say criminalizes not only undocumented immigrants, but the Latino community. Advocates hope support from local elected officials in Duluth will send a clear message to state lawmakers and members of Congress. They want all lawmakers to know their communities will not tolerate racial profiling, discrimination or poor treatment of undocumented local immigrants.