5/14 – South Cobb Patch – Immigrant Rights Leader Tells Why New Law is Bad for South Cobb, Nation – South Cobb, GA Patch

Immigrant Rights Leader Tells Why New Law is Bad for South Cobb, Nation – South Cobb, GA Patch.

Opinion

Gov. Nathan Deal signed a controversial undocumented immigrant bill on Friday. Richard Pellegrino of Cobb Immigrant Alliance tells why it’s detrimental to everyone.

Friday the 13, 2011, became one of the darkest and what will prove to be one of the unluckiest days for the people of Georgia when Gov. Nathan Deal signed H.B. 87 –  the so-called “Georgia Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011,” otherwise known as the Arizona copy-cat, “show your papers” law.

Even after major businesses and business groups around the state, the Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, and hundreds of thousands of Georgians and Americans asked him not to sign the bill into law, Deal cited two reasons, which are based on myths, for his signing:

1)    MYTH: Undocumented immigrants are costing the state and us, taxpayers millions of dollars.  FALSE: Deal and the framers of this bill, including Rep. Matt Ramsey, have no research or state audits to back up this false statement. TRUTH:  There are plenty of independent audits, including those performed by universities (in Georgia and elsewhere), by the Texas State Auditor, by the GAO and others, which indicate that the undocumented immigrants are actually paying and producing millions more for the economy than they receive in services, and that they actually enable the creation of more jobs for everyone with their purchasing power, with a substantial overall net economic benefit for us all.

2)    MYTH: The State of Georgia had to act because the Federal Government has not acted.  FALSE:  Deal, when he was in Congress, and the conservative wing of his party, have blocked every effort of the federal government to address the immigration issue. TRUTH: Both the Bush administration (with a bipartisan effort by McCain/Kennedy in 2006) and the Obama administration now have tried to enact true comprehensive immigration reform legislatio,n which will solve all of the state’s issues. However both Deal and the Georgia conservatives who crafted this bill have blocked these efforts.

So, besides the fact that this ill is based on myths and untruths, it is bad for all Georgians and Americans in many other ways, including:

1)    It is another unfunded mandate, which will cost, according to other states’ estimates (our governor and the legislature did not even produce a financial statement as to the law’s cost to Georgians…hmmm….I wonder why?) between $30 to $90 million to implement, coming right out of taxpayers’ pockets. (This does not count the lost revenue due to people leaving the state, boycotts, and legal fees; see below.) All of this while we are still reeling from the worst recession in history. (Why is it that whenever elected officials cannot help solve our real problems—jobs economy, etc–they find some group or country to declare war on? It is time to stop letting them scapegoat other human beings.)

2)    It is unconstitutional, therefore un-American (as has already been proven in Arizona by the federal courts) and therefore will be the subject of extensive litigation, which will cost the Georgia taxpayers millions in legal fees.

3)    It expands police powers (which the police have not asked for) beyond the bounds of American law and the civil rights which were won at such a cost here in the South, encourages racial profiling, and has been likened by the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus to the return of Jim Crow and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and by others to Nazi Germany’s policies. (Have we not learned, especially in Georgia and the South, from the past? And are we willing to return to pre-Civil Rights era?)

4)    It will burden employers with an E-Verify system, which is faulty and actually flags citizens a significant percentage of the time, which may prevent them from getting hired or, if already hired, may cost them their jobs.

5)    If enforced, it may separate families, who have proven by their hard work, family values, and patriotism, that they have earned a right to be Americans (and who, by the way, were invited here by all American citizens through our government and businesses, for their relatively inexpensive and highly productive labor.) It would therefore be immoral, inhumane, and un-American to attack and harm these people, our good neighbors, right here in South Cobb and across the state and country, which this law does. And anytime one group is singled out in this way, it is racism. (In fact, the main anti-immigrant organizations which helped Georgia and Arizona draft these laws have been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as white supremacist, hate groups, and the KKK has endorsed this bill and law. So, Governor Deal and Rep. Matt Ramsey, are you showing us your true “color” by partnering with these groups?)

These are just a few of the myths upon which this law is based and some of the many reasons why it is bad for South Cobb, Ga. and the nation. The Cobb Immigrant Alliance views the enactment of this “law” as an act of war on our neighbors and will be joining forces with many organizations around the state, the country, and the world to ensure that this law is never enforced and is relegated to the dust heap of obsolescence, along with the other racist Jim Crow laws of the past.

We will be holding a series of town hall meetings around Cobb beginning in the next few weeks to provide more information about the law, what we can all do to ensure it is never enforced in Georiga, and how to work together as a community to resolve the real issues that are plaguing us without scapegoating one or another group of neighbors.

How will the law affect us in South Cobb and how will the law affect Georgia overall? Tell us in the comments.
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