4/13 – Media Release: Georgians to Stand Watch as Legislators Debate Arizona Copycat Legislation

Contact:  Kathrin Ivanovic (215) 776-1162
Xochitl Bervera (404) 861-0756

April 13, 2011

Georgians to Stand Watch as Legislators Debate Arizona Copycat Legislation

Threat of jobs-killing, racial profiling bills passing in the 11th hour spurs vigil
In the final hours of the General Assembly, communities in opposition to Arizona-style legislation plan to gather on the steps of the State Capitol to urge elected officials to vote no on any anti-immigrant bill that will harm the state’s economy or reputation.

Opposition to HB 87 is growing. Over 23,000 petitions, representing concerned residents from across the state, were delivered to Gov. Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston on Monday urging them to stop this legislation.  Earlier, 270 farmers and business leaders signed a letter in strong opposition to HB87 and SB40. National groups, including the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Michigan Welfare Right Organization, have signed on to boycott Georgia, similar to the boycott that has cost Arizona millions, should this legislation become law.

“This evening, we will be standing on the steps, waiting, and hoping that our elected officials will decide to not pass a draconian anti-immigration bill.  If these Arizona copycat bills become law, everyday Georgians will be mourning the loss of our economic strength and our moral compass,” said Adelina Nicholls of Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. “Governor Deal and our legislators would be choosing the road that leads to the loss of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars.”

Key provisions of Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 were blocked by a federal court, a decision that was recently re-affirmed by a federal appellate court.  “Georgia lawmakers should heed the appellate court’s rebuke of Arizona’s racial profiling law and refrain from embroiling the state in costly litigation, at taxpayers’ expense.  Laws that promise to turn the state into “show me your papers” territory will not withstand legal challenge,” says Azadeh Shahshahani of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

Debate over this legislation is getting national attention.  Members of the Georgia immigrant rights community maintain that state-level solutions to immigration issues will not be effective.  “We clearly need to fix our broken immigration system at a federal level.  Individual states cannot solve this problem.  We call on Congress and the President to step up and offer a compassionate and reasonable humane solution,” says Kathrin Ivanovic of Southerners on New Ground

“Our experience in collecting over 23,000 signatures in less than two weeks, shows that Georgians know this will would be bad for our state,” says Lisa Adler of Amnesty International. “People were clamoring to sign.”

WHAT:           People’s Solidarity Gathering

WHERE:          Capitol Steps facing Washington Street, Atlanta, GA

WHEN:            Thursday April, 14th, 6:00 p.m.

WHO:              Business owners, concerned Georgia residents, members of the faith community, civil rights leaders, and members of immigrant rights and refugee rights communities.

English, Spanish, Persian and Chinese interviews available.


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