5:36 PM, Jun 18, 2011
The state’s new immigration law takes effect July 1. With it, comes some changes for both businesses and law enforcement.
The law requires employers, including cities and counties, to use e-verify. It’s a system that confirms the immigration status of employees. The law exempts companies that employ 10 people or fewer.
It also says each employer must submit a report to the state auditor confirming they followed the law, and at least 100 random audits will be done by the state to make sure employers obey the law.
The law requires law enforcement officers to verify a person’s immigration status if they can not provide identification, like a driver’s license.
Officers can check through federal databases or by using electronic fingerprints, but the law says a peace officer can not consider race, color or national origin when enforcing the law.
Some people most affected by the law say they’re still waiting on explanations of what it means.
Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena says, “It’s a rather lengthy bill.”
At this point, he says they’ve only been given a little direction.
“We’ve received some publications from the law itself and with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association, says Modena. “There has been some concern, get that law on out to us because again to enforce it on the streets, we need to know what is required of us what is expected of us.”
On the other side of the law, sits businesses like the members of Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The law hits them with new requirements, including checking new employees’ immigration status.
Chamber president Ed Rodriguez says, “It’s a system that the federal government has already put together and we’ve actually helped the federal government in the past by providing information to our members.”
The Chamber works to give information to its members, but Rodriguez says they need to have that information first.
“We have not yet received information on what we can do to communicate with our members. We expect that we will,” says Rodriguez.
In the mean time, they stand ready to let businesses know the requirements as soon as the state passes them along.
Rodriguez says, “We may very well hold some meetings and some informational sessions. Whatever it takes. Our jobs is to try to inform the business community.”
Those enforcing the law also continue to play the waiting game.
“By July 1, we’ll probably be coming off some classes, if nothing else just hand outs on this is what you can do and this is what you can’t do,” says Modena.
With less than two weeks to prepare, businesses and officers are holding out to make sure they enforce the law the right way.
The law says it’s goal is too encourage law enforcement to work with federal immigration authorities to use all resources available.
Modena say he’s glad the new law passes some of the responsibility along to employers as well.