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Bill may prevent services for illegal immigrants

ATLANTA (AP) -- A bill making its way through the Georgia Legislature could prevent illegal immigrants from being able to get a marriage license or access to water and sewage service in the state.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, has gotten a lot of attention because it would also bar illegal immigrants from the state's public colleges, universities and technical schools. But another provision that's generated very little discussion removes foreign passports from a list of identification documents that government agencies can accept for certain transactions. To be acceptable, foreign passports would have to be accompanied by federal immigration documentation proving someone is in the country legally.

"It's very interesting that the reliability of foreign passports is being questioned by the Georgia Legislature when the Transportation and Security Administration has considered the passport to be a very secure form of ID," said Azadeh Shahshahani, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. "I think my worry is that perhaps some legislators might not be aware of the implications of this because it seems so innocuous. It doesn't say on its face that undocumented immigrants can't get water or can't marry."

Loudermilk said the possibility of preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining marriage licenses and access to water and sewer was not intentional. He added that an amendment was likely that would remedy that.

Versions of the bill have cleared the state Senate and a House committee. If the full House passes it, the Senate would have to approve changes made by the House before the session ends Thursday.

Under last year's law cracking down on illegal immigration, the state attorney general's office was charged with creating a list of "secure and verifiable" documents that government agencies could accept if they require identification for an official purpose. The list was released last summer and includes a U.S. passport, U.S. military identification card and a U.S. driver's license, among other documents. It also includes foreign passports, the only document on the list that illegal immigrants would be able to obtain.

By removing foreign passports from the list, the new bill would technically prevent illegal immigrants from getting a marriage license in Georgia or from accessing water and sewage service in the many municipalities that require identification to turn on service. That's because illegal immigrants wouldn't have the extra paperwork needed to prove not only that they have a passport, but that they are in the country legally.

However, it's possible illegal immigrants may not face much of a hurdle if local authorities don't bring their policies in line with the list of accepted documents. In many instances, local authorities still accept documents that aren't on the list approved by the attorney general.

A survey by The Associated Press of the websites or staff of probate courts in Georgia's 25 most populous counties shows at least 21 currently accept a birth certificate or a foreign driver's license as acceptable identification for those seeking a marriage license. Neither of those documents is on the attorney general's list.

Unlike other utilities, which are generally managed by private companies in Georgia, water and sewage services are provided by local government agencies. Calls to water and sewage authorities in some parts of the state found that some currently accept foreign driver's licenses, which is not acceptable under the current law.

Technically, an agency could be penalized under the law for accepting documents not on the attorney general's list. But penalties are unlikely, as long as any problems that spark complaints are quickly rectified.

The author of last year's illegal immigration crackdown, Rep. Matt Ramsey, said he believes all public agencies should comply with last year's law and should accept only identification documents on the attorney general's list. But the Peachtree City Republican added that he believes a U.S. birth certificate, though not a foreign one, should qualify as a "secure and verifiable" document. The attorney general's office has the power to add documents to the list.

Comments

jjbod1 2 years, 1 month ago

Awesome, hope this one passes.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years ago

"However, it's possible illegal immigrants may not face much of a hurdle if local authorities don't bring their policies in line with the list of accepted documents. In many instances, local authorities still accept documents that aren't on the list approved by the attorney general......A survey by The Associated Press of the websites or staff of probate courts in Georgia's 25 most populous counties shows at least 21 currently accept a birth certificate or a foreign driver's license as acceptable identification for those seeking a marriage license. Neither of those documents is on the attorney general's list...... Calls to water and sewage authorities in some parts of the state found that some currently accept foreign driver's licenses, which is not acceptable under the current law....Technically, an agency could be penalized under the law for accepting documents not on the attorney general's list. But penalties are unlikely, as long as any problems that spark complaints are quickly rectified."

Well. I'm glad to see that the state has finally decided to get serious about enforcing the illegal immigration laws that they have been campaigning on getting tough on (biting sarcasm, then laughs...lots and lots of LAUGHS).

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years ago

Seriously, this law that is pending and the law that was passed last year could send quite a message about getting serious about cracking down on illegal immigration....If these clowns in the Georgia General Assembly were actually serious about enforcement (they're not).

Seriously? Seriously!? 21 of the state's 25 most populous counties and numerous utility companies still accept foreign driver's licenses as ID? After last year's (latest) supposed toughest crackdown yet on illegal immigration? Violations for which any penalty by the state is unlikely?

Until these clowns in the legislature get serious about enforcing illegal immigration laws by including actual enforcement mechanisms and a fiscal note, which still has not been attached onto last year's latest get-tough on illegal immigration bills, you can consider any illegal immigration (and most other) legislation from the Georgia General Assembly to be pretty much less than worth the (toliet) paper that it is printed on and nothing more than a cynical smoke-and-mirrors attempt to drum up statewide voter turnout for the fall elections while creating jobs for the only real group of Georgians that matter to the legislature the most: LAWYERS.

As you can see from their spirited enforcement of the two previous illegal immigration crackdown laws (in 2006 and 2011) that the legislature doesn't really want to get serious about enforcement, they just want to PRETEND as if they are so that they and their big business corporate cronies (major corporations, real estate developers, etc) can continue to profit off of illegal immigration by exploiting illegals at the expense of legal Georgian citizens by employing them at lower wages, renting apartments and abandoned homes out to them and selling cheap overbuilt homes to them.

The shamelessly crooks under the Gold Dome are not about to put an actual stop to what to them is a highly-profitable gravy train of massive illegal immigration, they just want us to think that they will so that we will vote them in over and over and over and over again so that they can keep getting showered with money and gifts and even female escorts by lobbyists who represent the highest bidder, usually in the form of big business.

What's the point of passing tough laws if you have no intention of enforcing them?

Oh yeah, that's right! So that they can get elected and re-elected so as to keep the corporate "perks" and lobbyist gifts flowing.

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Braveshopr 2 years ago

'that the legislature doesn't really want to get serious about enforcement, they just want to PRETEND as if they are so that they and their big business corporate cronies..'

Agree, and they're still coming in, and in droves. Their aged mothers and fathers, cousins and aunts. (and how, exactly do the aged get in?) I find it unlikely the aged would cross through the desert. The laws as they stand don't even deter them, much less stop them.

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BuzzG 2 years ago

"Azadeh Shahshahani, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union."
But what about the civil liberties of those of us who want our laws enforces. The ACLU has become very selective on who gets civil liberties and who does not. How about the civil liberties of those waiting patiently in line to get into the country legally?
Folks, if you have Progressive Insurance, drop it. The owner of Progressive is the largest single donor of the ACLU and sets their agenda.

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micronmike 2 years ago

The problem is that we are all going to end up having to carry documentation for no reason. Why do you need documentation for water or sewer hookup?

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R 2 years ago

If the service is government provided, - it's a benefit requiring ID by state law. Citizens and legal residents already carry ID everywhere we go – try and board a plane, buy beer or any other of a thousand things we do every day without one. Why should there be two sets of options -Legal and the rest? Unify and simplify.

Don’t have a real ID? go to Los Angeles CA. because THEY don’t care...

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R 2 years ago

"Calls to water and sewage authorities in some parts of the state found that some currently accept foreign driver's licenses, which is not acceptable under the current law."

Will the paper publish these results please? This list can go right down to the commission at the Gold Dome.

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news2me 2 years ago

Preventing Illegals from getting a marriage license is very good.

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notblind 2 years ago

Most don't worry about a marriage license before popping out an anchor baby.

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news2me 2 years ago

True, but that anchor baby is only if both parents are illegal or immigrants. The problem I have seen increasing is sham marriages to a citizen for immigrant status. 20 years ago the government could control that to a greater degree, now they don't care and it is out of control. It is sad that the states are having to tackle these issues in preventing as many loopholes as possible.

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