Ga. Democrats seek repeal of immigration crackdown

ATLANTA (AP) -- Democratic lawmakers said Monday they will seek to repeal a law that launched a crackdown last year on illegal immigrants in Georgia, but their small caucus lacks the votes to overturn it in the Republican-dominated General Assembly.

Democratic officials said Rep. Pedro Marin and Rep. Lynmore James will sponsor the repeal, but they had not submitted the necessary legislation by Monday afternoon and did not immediately return messages seeking comment. The repeal will be among the top priorities of an agenda that Democrats plan to unveil at a news conference Tuesday.

James said in a statement that families cannot afford "to have politicians playing with their food." Farmers have complained that the crackdown has discouraged Hispanic field hands, including many who are illegal immigrants, from coming to Georgia to harvest labor-intensive fruits and vegetables.

"Georgia deserves better than a bill that costs millions of dollars in lost crops, lost revenue and lost opportunities," James said.

The Democratic caucus has scheduled a hearing Thursday where its members will hear about the effects of the crackdown in rural towns. Farmers have complained of labor problems since the law passed last year, though Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said earlier this month it wasn't clear whether any of the reported shortages were a direct result of the law.

Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, accused illegal immigrants of financially burdening the state and said the supporters of the crackdown "will oppose any effort to diminish its provisions."

Starting this year, the law requires that businesses with 500 or more employees use a federal database called E-Verify to check whether new hires are eligible to legally work in the country. That requirement will be gradually expanded to include companies with 10 or more employees by July 2013.

The law makes it a felony crime with hefty penalties to use false information or documents when applying for a job. It created an immigration review board to investigate complaints about government officials not complying with state laws related to immigration. Public officials can be fined or even removed from office if they fail to the use the federal E-Verify database to verify the eligibility of new hires or those who apply for public assistance, such as food stamps.

A federal judge in June blocked parts of Georgia's law pending the outcome of a legal challenge filed by immigrant rights and civil liberties groups. One of the blocked sections authorizes police to check the immigration status of suspects who don't have proper identification and to detain illegal immigrants. The other creates a state penalty for people who knowingly and willingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants while committing another crime.

The state has challenged the judge's decision to block those parts of the law, and a hearing on the injunction is set for March 1 in a federal appeals court.


Ray Henry can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/rhenryAP . Follow Kate Brumback at http://www.twitter.com/katebrumback.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 3 years, 7 months ago

This is the problem with Democrats at both the state and national levels and is a prime example of why Georgia Democrats are an increasingly endangered species in Georgia state politics. Georgia Democrats are completely out-of-touch with the vast majority of Georgians on this and many other issues.

The vast majority of Georgians, Republican, Democrat, Independent and Moderate, don't want a repeal of a crackdown that is, at best, merely nothing more than a smoke-and-mirrors attempt to make Georgians think that state government is doing all that it can to combat the increasingly out-of-control problem of massive illegal immigration when in fact, state government isn't doing anything more than blowing massive amounts of smoke up everyone's backsides.

If anything, Georgia Democrats should be going one step farther and advocating to BAN all illegal and unauthorized aliens from all publicly-funded colleges and universities in the State of Georgia. NO out-of-state tuition, NO in-state tuition, NO Hope Scholarships, NO state or federal financial aid, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Until Georgia Democrats learn to become much more politically in tune with the wishes, wants and needs of the Georgia voters that they are supposed to be serving, they will deservedly continue to wander around aimlessly in a political wilderness of their own making.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 3 years, 7 months ago

Call your state representatives and tell them to make sure that Georgia House Bill 59 is voted into law.

Georgia House Bill 59 will halt the admission of illegal immigrants to Georgia's public universities and will ensure that no Georgians are ever again turned away from being admitted to a public university because one of the very limited spots in our university spots was taken by illegal aliens.

No LEGAL Georgians should ever be turned away or denied admission to a publicly-funded college or university because one of the very limited and finite spots was taken by illegal aliens, a situation that happens to too many Georgians every semester and academic session in Georgia's university system and is sure to happen more frequently if illegal immigration continues to grow unabated in Georgia.



toby 3 years, 7 months ago

If farmers need workers in the fields, use prisoners. They have nothing else to do and they are cheap. And if you want to see how big that this problem is, visit the Social Security office and see who is getting your money. Demorcrates like everything to be fair. What's fair in taking my money and giving it to someone else just because they showed up here? Don't sound fair to me.


FordGalaxy 3 years, 7 months ago

toby - I like that idea. Of course, the ACLU will probably tell you that having prisoners work the fields is "cruel and unusual" punishment....and they may even play the "racist" card, since at least some of the inmate whow ould be used are black.

I heard that Obama plans to talk about a "Fair Shake" Economy in the SOTU address tonight. Apparently, in Democrat speak, Fairness means making those who already pay the most pay more and having those who pay the least or none pay even less. That's fair.


MichaelMarr 3 years, 7 months ago

We have laws that prevent prisoners from taking private sector jobs. There's an exception for inmates doing repairs and maintenance in government facilities. If it's any consolation, the Department of Corrections runs a huge farm outside of Vidalia and prisoners work on it.


Sthrnldy 3 years, 7 months ago

"Farmers have complained of labor problems since the law passed last year, though Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said earlier this month it wasn't clear whether any of the reported shortages were a direct result of the law"

Excuse me Mr. Black, have you forgotten that many of our crops last year did not get picked because of the severe draught that blanketed much of our state?


Oliver 3 years, 7 months ago

prisoners??? We complain about a lack of workers and crops rotting in the fields and at the same time Georgia sends out record amounts in unemployment checks???? Georgia is recording some of it's highest ever unemployment levels while continuing to borrow money to spend on unemployment checks which it can't afford. Some of these unemployed folks have been collecting unemployment checks for so long, they would have had enough time to improve their working skills by earning an Associate Degree.

Yes working in the fields is hard, hot work. But this is your tough love wake-up call. The easy days of $250k as a mortgage broker are way behind us, the easy days of flipping homes are behind us. We've become such a pampered bunch of whiney sissy-pants cupcakes that we're all just looking for our "participation trophy" and no one will do the hard work. Most folks are afraid to even mention the insanity of the current situation. Our grandparents who lived through the Great Depression would be ashamed of us. They would have taken those jobs to support themselves and their families.

It's time to end the entitlement mentality. Start capping and cutting off the welfare checks, unemployment checks, food stamps and we'll see unemployment drop, a reduction in crops rotting the fields, a reduction in government borrowing and a return to the values that made this country great.


Sthrnldy 3 years, 7 months ago

correction ---- severe drought

LMAO, the severe draught is almost over now with Sunday sales!


kevin 3 years, 7 months ago

Not just Repubicans, but all state legislators took an oath to enforce & abide by the laws of this state. Those that oppose this law, including the farmers & whomever other, should go back to Walmart or whatever school they went to, and study the definition of "illegal" and "legal resident." Maybe these liberals weren't paying attention in the class their first time around. OR, maybe these same liberals have broken our laws in the past and that is why they don't care about our present laws. Time to vote them out if you people have any smarts and quit re-electing such liberals. These laws are for the good of our state. I beg the question, why haven't some of our unemployed looked for those jobs? Too far away, or maybe the companies want to still pay "slave" wages to their workers. If they weren't so greedy, maybe prices would go up a little. If so, we just buy less. It is what "capitalism" is about. Start blaming the real people, not the state of GA., but the Feds, who also took an oath to enforce the laws and the Constitution of this country. They need to all be voted out as well come Nov. I am sick & tired of politicians not living by their oath and expect to be re-elected buy idiots over & over.


jack 3 years, 7 months ago

Don't illegal immigrants vote Democrat?


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