4/15 – ajc.com – Exclusive: Deal tells AJC he intends to sign immigration bill | ajc.com

Exclusive: Deal tells AJC he intends to sign immigration bill  | ajc.com.

Georgia Politics 11:43 a.m. Friday, April 15, 2011

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday that the immigration bill adopted by the General Assembly appears to meet his criteria for necessary and needed changes.

Deal said he will review the legislation, House Bill 87, to be sure, “but at least the broad parameters of what we know are there appear to be consistent with what we would be agreeable to.”

The General Assembly approved the sweeping, Arizona-style bill Thursday in the final hours of the 2011 legislative session. Deal said he has been consistent since his campaign last year that he would support a “balanced immigration reform bill.”

“To try and craft legislation that is within the parameters of what a state can do without overstepping its bounds is difficult,” Deal said. “And I commend the General Assembly for trying to put a product together that they felt like met that, and from what I have seen, I believe it does meet that.”

Deal did not say exactly when he would sign HB 87 but said he is confident that he will be able to affix his signature after reviewing it.

“I have no reason to think I would find something there that would cause me to change my mind,” he said. “It is the kind of legislation I promised on the campaign, and the General Assembly has delivered it and I intend to sign it.”

The governor said he is aware that certain business groups had concerns about the impact the bill could have on agriculture and other industries that rely on low-cost labor that immigrants provide. But, he said, he hopes they remember who is responsible for the problem.

“I understand their concerns,” Deal said. “I would hope that they would channel those concerns to the level of government that can do something about it, which is the federal government. States see what we have done, and other states will follow suit on it.”

That, he said, “will emphasize to members of Congress that they are going to force states to take action.”

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