The Georgia legislature is currently considering two anti-immigrant bills, HB-87 and SB-40, both modeled after Arizona’s SB 1070. Arizona’s law faces a bevy of lawsuits, many focused on the fact that it requires law enforcement to establish “reasonable suspicion” to ask someone for immigration papers (a.k.a. racial profiling). But even though the law is caught up in federal court, and therefore the most controversial components have not been implemented, it has still had many unwanted effects on the state.
Last month, the New York Times reports, “Arizona lawmakers rejected new anti-immigration measures… in what was widely seen as capitulation to pressure from business executives and an admission that the state’s tough stance had resulted in a chilling of the normally robust tourism and convention industry.” A letter from 60 business leaders detailed economic “setbacks,” including estimated $15-$150 million tourism losses according to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In Georgia, a group of farmers and business leaders are also urging their state legislature to consider the same economic damage that would occur in that state if it were to pass copy-cat bills. The letter is signed by 270 representatives of the agriculture industry including “Zippy Duvall, president of the Georgia Farm Bureau; Bryan Tolar, president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council; and Mary Kay Woodworth, executive director of the Georgia Urban Ag Council.”
And in case there were any doubts that Georgia’s bills are utilizing the same failed “attrition” concept as Arizona’s (in other words, treat immigrants so inhumanely they are driven out of the state), the man behind SB 1070, Arizona Senator Russell Pearce himself, has endorsed them. You might recall Pearce as the same man who once forwarded an anti-Semitic email from the neo-Nazi National Alliance to his supporters, and who takes issue with people criticizing his use of the slur “wetback,” among many other things.
Photo Credit: Chris Fannin