KING: Enforce, verify our immigration laws

The Georgia legislature is conducting joint committee hearings on legislative solutions to illegal immigration in Georgia. And is being constantly reminded of the fact that we are cursed with more illegal aliens than Arizona.

The solution is obvious: Enforcement. It works, just like with any other crime.

Most illegal immigration is all about jobs, jobs, jobs. Illegal aliens migrate out of every area in which jobs become unavailable and the law is enforced. And they take their budget-crashing dependents with them.

Genuine dedication from Gold Dome leadership in protecting American workers and driving illegals out of Georgia will be measured by the enthusiasm with which common-sense enforcement measures are implemented in the 2011 session.

Some suggestions and goals:

First, foremost and beginning on day one: finish the job that was begun in 2006 with passage of the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act (Senate Bill 529).

In part, GSICA requires local governments and official agencies that administer public benefits to use an affidavit system and a federal program called SAVE to verify the eligibility of applicants for those finite taxpayer-funded benefits.

There is no penalty for any local government or department head for violation. It shows.

With 159 counties and 535 municipalities in Georgia, and a so-far unknown number of other state and local agencies that dole out public benefits, there are only 300 total agencies authorized to use SAVE as of Nov. 1. Don’t try this defiance at home.

The Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association have successfully beat back repeated attempts to add penalty language absent in the 2006 law. Both anti-enforcement groups must be exposed and overcome if we are serious about reserving benefits for legal immigrants and voting citizens.

The entire 2006 Georgia immigration law, then the toughest in the nation, should be re-examined, overhauled and strengthened. Compliance will only come with constant monitoring, audits and meaningful sanctions and enforcement.

On the question, “Should Georgia pass laws similar to what has been passed in Arizona?”

Yes — as nearly half of states in the nation are already in the process of doing — of course we should. More than 100,000 illegals have fled Arizona since Senate Bill 1070 was passed. Mexican officials whine that 23,380 Mexicans fled from Arizona to Mexico between June and September.

We should emulate Arizona legislators in every way they have attacked illegal immigration. Starting with protecting jobs by requiring all employers’ to use the no-cost and effective federal E-Verify database to help insure that newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States.

Arizona has had a state law requiring all businesses to use E-Verify since 2008. In addition to Arizona, Georgia would catch up with Utah, Mississippi and South Carolina with required universal use.

Only Georgia’s public employers and their contractors are now required to use E-Verify. Not all do.

With a goal of the reduction in the hiring of black-market labor, House Bill 1259 — The Georgia Employer and Worker Protection Act — was introduced in the 2010 session with influential sponsors. It required all employers to use the E-Verify system to obtain or renew a business license.

It is a quite workable and reasonable idea — unless you are a criminal employer.

H.B. 1259 never saw even a single subcommittee hearing or any media coverage.

The GOP-controlled Georgia government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the real cause of most illegal immigration: illegal employment.

The real culprits in this mess are the employers who take advantage of the fact that they have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being punished by the Obama administration for illegally hiring taxpayer-subsidized, illegal, replacement labor — while we struggle to pay unemployment benefits to jobless legal residents.

Everyone can see what is happening here.

The good news for Georgians properly incensed about losing jobs to the resentful illegal aliens who escaped capture at our borders is that Gov.-elect Nathan Deal has repeatedly expressed his support for statewide use of the E-Verify system.

More than 16,000 private Georgia employers are already voluntarily using the free federal tool with no complaints.

When we are again watching other states discuss the possibility of “copying the Georgia immigration laws” we will know that our elected officials have returned to a real effort to make our beloved state what the huge majority of Georgians demand: an illegal — alien free —zone where English is not an optional language and the law is equally applied.

It’s the new American Dream.

D.A. King is a nationally recognized authority on illegal immigration and president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society which has been an authorized E-Verify user since mid- 2005. He lobbied in support of the 2006 Georgia immigration law.