By the end of the week, Georgia citizens will have much better view of the true priorities and intent of the state’s Republican-controlled legislative and executive branches of government on illegal immigration.
In question is language in HB 87 authored by Rep Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) that is truly comprehensive, effective and workable immigration reform. It makes Georgia a miserable place to be for illegal aliens, illegal employers and the endless list of organizations with goals that include perpetuating the presence in Georgia of the fugitive victims of geography.
We should all pay attention to what happens with the best state immigration enforcement bill in the nation. And to watch for any effort to dilute, delay or kill the bill that would cause a nearly immediate mass exodus of illegals from the Peach State.
HB 87 passed the House on March 3rd. Day 23 of the session.
A look at two of the players and their positions will help understand the coming events.
The new governor, with a sterling pro-enforcement record as a long-time member of Congress made clear promises during the campaign on the issue that is changing our language, busting the Georgia budget and causing the loss of jobs and wages for citizens and legal immigrants.
During the campaign, candidate Nathan Deal answered an unequivocal “yes” to these questions:
• “Will you commit to using the power of the Governor’s office to put in place legislation that requires use of the no-cost federal E-Verify employment verification system to obtain or renew a business license/ “occupational tax certificate” in Georgia?
• And “will you commit to using the power of the Georgia Governor’s office to create, pass and sign into law legislation based on Arizona’s SB 1070, including making illegal immigration a state crime in Georgia?”
The majority of Georgians who demand passage of Ramsey’s bill are apparently in good hands as far as the governor’s office. It is a bit puzzling to listen to the Governor’s silence on the issue since he took office.
Maybe he could reiterate his promise on adding enforcement language for the 2006 landmark state immigration law regarding public benefits going to illegals — which is included in HB 87.
“The cost of illegal immigration to the taxpayers of Georgia is immense. As governor, I will work to strengthen the law requiring identity and citizenship verification for all individuals seeking taxpayer-funded services and benefits.” That would go a long way in propelling the bill in these last days of session.”
For the office of Lt. Governor, candidate Casey Cagle was adamant on enforcement of immigration laws and helped pass the 2006 law.
For many Capitol watchers, there is an element of confusion on the Lt. Governor’s true agenda in the current session, created in part by a January statement to a Georgia Chamber of Commerce breakfast: “I believe the rule of law is important, but over-regulation on businesses would just not be right and we’re not going to see it happen this session’’ Cagle assured the crowd.
On “over-regulation”, many people think Cagle was speaking in code words about the part of Ramsey’s bill that expands the existing state law requiring public employer use of the federal E-Verify system to include private employers to save jobs for Georgians.
These doubters are likely wrong. Everyone knows that illegal immigration can’t be addressed without ending illegal hiring — so that probably isn’t it at all.
In a form response letter to citizens who have swamped the Lt. Governor’s office insisting that the House-passed version of HB 87 be guided through the Senate, the Lt. Governor offers apprehensive citizens reassuring words. “As a former State Senator and now as Lt. Governor, I have a proven record of supporting legislation that addresses the illegal immigration crisis and certainly support continuing to look for and implementing stricter controls in Georgia. It is my hope that the legislature will be able to implement these reforms this year and I look forward to insuring we are able to successfully pass this new law.”
It is altogether fitting and proper that the Lt. Governor hopes the legislature can implement Ramsey’s law. Most Georgians share that hope. But they aren’t president of the Senate.
To recap: The Gold Dome is controlled by Republicans. Illegal immigration is degrading Georgia. Illegal immigration is caused by illegal employment and HB 87 will curtail both.
Thursday is legislative day 40 of the 40-day session.
D.A. King is president of the Cobb-based Dustin Inman Society.