For Immediate Release
May 4, 2011
Contact: Ajamu Baraka, 404.588.9761
U.S. Human Rights Network Announces Plan
To Move National Conference If HB 87 Signed
Atlanta, GA – The US Human Rights Network (USHRN), an Atlanta-based coalition of more than 300 organizations from around the country, announced today that it will move its 2011 national conference outside the state of Georgia if Gov. Nathan Deal follows through with his intent to sign controversial anti-immigration bill HB 87.
The decision to move the conference, scheduled for December in Atlanta, is part of a groundswell of opposition to the bill from organizations throughout Georgia, encouraged by the leadership of Somos Georgia. Somos Georgia is a growing movement of Georgians committed to immigrant, racial and economic justice and they have called for a general boycott of the state should the bill become law. “We cannot sit idly by while the state of Georgia promotes widespread violations of human and civil rights,” says USHRN Executive Director Ajamu Baraka. “Unless Gov. Deal vetoes this bill or until it is repealed, the Network will honor its commitment to the rights of all individuals by taking its business elsewhere.”
Provisions of HB 87, the so-called Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011, violate multiple international human rights agreements that the United States has ratified. The bill also creates a series of new criminal offenses targeting employers and residents who simply offer help to immigrants in need. “This bill is unacceptable on many, many levels,” says Baraka.
Georgia’s law, passed by the General Assembly in April, mirrors legislation passed in Arizona last year that has thus far failed to withstand court challenges and has cost the state tens of millions of dollars in revenue from tourist and business boycotts, legal fees and other expenses. “The projections of economic benefits to the state of Georgia used to justify this bill are not only inflated, they’re completely false,” Baraka says. “The last thing that Georgia needs in these difficult economic times is to follow Arizona’s path and become a national pariah.”
The USHRN will not take formal steps to identify an alternate conference location until Gov. Deal makes his final decision. But if the bill does become law, Baraka says, moving the conference out of state will be only the first of many steps the organization will take to ensure that Georgia pays a steep price for its action: “The human rights of all people will be central to every economic decision we make.”
For more information on the USHRN, please visit www.ushrnetwork.org.