The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia’s Senate is preparing to take up Arizona-style immigration enforcement legislation for a vote Monday afternoon amid threats of economic boycotts and petitions from critics who oppose the measure.
Bob Andres, firstname.lastname@example.org A crowd of 5,000 to 6,000 protesters surrounded the state Capitol on March 24 to voice their opposition to immigration measures the Legislature is considering.
Brant Sanderlin, AJC About 200 demonstrators protested Georgia House Bill 87 outside the Capitol on March 3.
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network faxed a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal Thursday, saying Georgia will face boycotts if it enacts the legislation.
And on Monday, activists presented Deal’s office with 23,000 petition signatures urging him to stop the measure. Additionally, the head of the Korean American Association of Greater Atlanta last week sent state lawmakers petitions signed by more than 4,000 Korean Americans from Gwinnett County who are opposed to the legislation.
“The boycott is being organized because the state’s pending Arizona-style racial profiling legislation would undermine fundamental civil rights and civil liberties and pose a special threat to immigrants and people of color who live in and travel through the state of Georgia,” Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said in a letter faxed to the governor last week. “We know from our experience in Arizona that these types of laws have devastating effects on families, students, workers, business, and entire communities.”
Deal’s office said Monday that the governor will begin reviewing bills after the session ends this week. It did not address specific legislation.
The Legislature is considering two bills — Senate Bill 40 and House Bill 87 — that are partly patterned after tough immigration enforcement legislation Arizona enacted last year. Georgia’s bills would require many businesses to confirm their new hires are eligible to work in the United States. The bills would also penalize people who harbor illegal immigrants and empower police to question certain suspects about their immigration status. HB 87 is scheduled to come up for a Senate floor vote Monday afternoon.
Cities and counties across the nation have targeted Arizona with economic boycotts since that state enacted Senate Bill 1070 last year. Dozens of conventions that had been planned for Arizona have been canceled or relocated amid those boycotts. Meanwhile, proponents of Arizona’s legislation have traveled to that state to show their support. Supporters say the states must act because the federal government has failed to seal the nation’s borders.