Posted: 11:09 am EDT April 11, 2011Updated: 11:26 am EDT April 11, 2011
ATLANTA — Dozens of demonstrators protested immigration reform outside the state Capitol on Monday just hours before lawmakers were scheduled to debate the bill.
The Senate could vote on a bill Monday that would require employers to verify the immigration status of their workers.
It also gives law enforcement more powers to check the status of suspects. The bill has drawn protests from several Latino organizations, civil rights activists and some business owners.
“We firmly believe that if this legislation is passed and Governor Deal signs it, our state will be littered with the tombstones of small businesses, the loss of conventions and tourism, farms and vibrant communities,” said Lisa Adler of Amnesty International.
Demonstrators delivered a petition to Deal’s office on Monday. They claim to have more than 23,000 signatures from people opposing the bill.
Businessman Ron Reardon, a self-described lifelong Republican, opposes the bill because he thinks it will hurt farmers.
“If you kill the engine then the entire train stops,” said Reardon.
“If our lawmakers ignore this truth, if these bills pass, if they become law, then the Georgia engine will stall.”