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THOMPSON: Immigrants need path to legalization

Sen. Curt Thompson

Sen. Curt Thompson

ATLANTA -- Today, the big question is can we find a solution to our nation's immigration problem, or do we shut our doors, close our eyes and wish the problem away?

The United States of America is a country founded by immigrants, shaped by the melting pot of our heritages, and molded through the events and ideas which unite us culturally. We are a beacon on the hill for those who desire a better life through hard work and perseverance. Turning our backs on our immigration population is not an option. We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice and insure domestic tranquility, must stand united.

The U.S. Census Bureau calculated Georgia's immigrant population in 2010 at almost a million, 450,000 of them were considered undocumented. From 2000 to 2010, our state's total immigrant population increased by more than 63 percent and the Federation for American Immigration Reform projects this population to increase to more than 15 million by 2050. The choice we have before us now is to decide what percentage of this future generation will be still be undocumented.

America's immigration system is broken. Immigrants who aspire to move to the United States are faced with miles of red tape, long waits and understaffed immigration offices who cannot handle the work load. From personal experience with my wife Sascha, I have seen the difficulties present in our immigration system.

Our country and state must provide a path to legalization and integration for this unrepresented constituency. Their voices count.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, immigrants comprised more than 13 percent of Georgia's workforce in 2010 and more than half of them were undocumented. A 2006 study by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute estimates an average undocumented family in Georgia contributes more than $2,000 in state and local sales, income and property taxes. Undocumented families that do not pay income taxes would have a sales and property tax contribution of more than $1,800.

By not integrating our immigrant population into society, Georgia is losing revenue and hindering the recovery our economy. People who are here illegally have violated the rules, but forcibly expatriating them is not the answer. Providing a way for them to redeem their debt to society is the best solution for both our legal residents and our undocumented migrants. By allowing them to work for their citizenship, we end the resource drain that illegal immigration has become.

Georgia must take note from our neighbors in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Durham, N.C., where governments are focusing on public safety, immigrant outreach, civic engagement and citizenship, and city services to integrate immigrants into the local community.

Undocumented immigration is not a state problem, it is a national problem. Immigrants have built this country brick by brick without a moment in the limelight. Let us not betray their trust but support them.

Sen. Curt Thompson serves as Chairman of the Special Judiciary Committee. He represents the 5th Senate District, which includes portions of Gwinnett County. He may be reached at 404-463-1318 or by email at curt.thompson@senate.ga.gov.

Comments

Elbonian 1 year, 2 months ago

With unemployment still running at nearly 8%, can't we deport illegals back to their nation of origin? Maybe getting the illegals out of our workforce would help some of the rest of us find jobs. How about making e-Verify mandatory for all employers? Anybody who can't pass the e-Verify system gets fired or not hired. Then Romney's "self-deportation" might become a reality and us citizens can get on with the rest of our lives.

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notblind 1 year, 1 month ago

If you REALLY believe that unemployment is only 8% then you probably also believe that there are only 11 million illegals in the country. Both of those numbers are low by at least a factor of 2.

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John5214 1 year, 2 months ago

Immigrants need a path to one of two places: Jail or back where they came from. How can we be selective in the laws uphold? That surely must be illegal, also.

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John5214 1 year, 1 month ago

I couldn't have said it better myself.

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R 1 year, 1 month ago

Suggested note of Clarification or Point of Information!:

The above comment would apply to "illegal immigrants" as we currently have a myriad of ways to get here legally right now...

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notblind 1 year, 1 month ago

There is no such thing as an 'illegal immigrant'.

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R 1 year, 1 month ago

Just undocumented visitors from other nations who got lost during their travels on the road through the USA to somewhere else...

Paraphrased from an actual defense attorney presentation during a superior court jury selection session, you can't make this stuff up or "un-hear it" once it's heard publicly... (EEK!)

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R 1 year, 1 month ago

Just undocumented visitors from other nations who got lost during their travels on the road through the USA to somewhere else...

Paraphrased from an actual defense attorney presentation during a superior court jury selection session, you can't make this stuff up or "un-hear it" once it's heard publicly... (EEK!)

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JV 1 year, 2 months ago

So is this Democrat proposing amnesty? He cites a 2006 study on the cost to Georgia citizens. Well, here are some a bit newer and the cost are much more than the good Senator presents.

http://kingston.house.gov/uploadedfiles/fair_study_-_cost_of_immigration_in_georgia.pdf

http://www.fairus.org/publications/the-costs-of-illegal-immigration-to-georgians-2008

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Jan 1 year, 1 month ago

FAIR is an organization that has demonstrated that they are unfair. Their goal is the deportation of all illegals. The positions they take on immigration puts the data into question. While they throw out numbers, they do not give sources. They also do not balance this with information about the taxes that illegal aliens are paying which you will see in the data above.

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R 1 year, 1 month ago

Law ENFORCEMENT That's UNFAIR!!!

WOW

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R 1 year, 2 months ago

It’s very simple really, why is full citizenship even being discussed?

The most generous final offer should be legal non citizen status.

They work, live, pay taxes and enjoy the sunlight like millions of others that came here legally.

Of course, before any offer can seriously be made, we must pass a Federal bill that makes both physically crossing the border without coming through US Immigration checkpoints and/or misrepresenting or overstaying legal visas a FELONY.

We could make the act of hiring those individuals who crossed the border without coming through US Immigration checkpoints and/or misrepresenting or overstaying legal visas a FELONY.

This should be simple and quick since Janet Napolitano has stated for the record that our borders are secure today …

(Janet Napolitano is the third United States Secretary of Homeland Security, in office since 2009.)

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

I agree completely. Thompson should know that most of these illegals do not want full citizenship. In many cases these people have had years to do the right things, with people like Thompson behind them, and they simply don't initiate the process. Full blown citizenship is not what they want.

With the troops coming back from Afghanastan, this would be a perfect opportunity to put our military back to work on our soil - protect the borders. We must give our troops something to do that has a direct impact on protecting our nation, while we wait for the inevitable attack that will happen overseas. Our enemies are watching and waiting for us to continue to become weak. We need to show them we still mean business on our soil.

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notblind 1 year, 2 months ago

First order of business should be correcting the so called 'birthright citizenship clause'. The problem is that DC is not even mentioning this.

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LilburnsFuture 1 year, 2 months ago

We all had families that immigrated to this country at one point in our past. I support enforcement of existing laws. E-verify should have random audits.

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news2me 1 year, 1 month ago

Ellis Island worked for many of our ancestors. We have abandoned all the good from our past that helped to make our country great. Those Immigrants had to prove they could survive and thrive in our country and not be a burden.

The current stock of Illegal Aliens will never be treated with the greatness given to those real Immigrants that helped to shape our once great nation.

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LilburnsFuture 1 year, 1 month ago

Give me a break. The same was said of immigrants back in the days. Watch out republicans, democrats are hoping you will continue being vocal against Hispanics. They will use it like they did the last election to show democrats care and republicans do not. If you don't believe me, read the opinion pages about immigration in the early 1900s.

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R 1 year, 1 month ago

Assuming concerns with illegal immigration relate only to Latinos is racist.

There are far more of every color and creed involved.

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news2me 1 year, 1 month ago

Agreed. Illegal is not a Race.

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R 1 year, 1 month ago

Assuming concerns with illegal immigration relate only to Latinos is racist.

There are far more of every color and creed involved.

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notblind 1 year, 1 month ago

THE RACE CARD !!!!!!!!!!!!! Playing the race card is a strategy not a rebuttal.................................... Non latino illegal immigrant numbers are insignificant. Put a few thousand miles of ocean between the US and Mexico and we would not even be discussing illegal aliens.

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LilburnsFuture 1 year, 1 month ago

Lol. Wrong. Few months back Asian company was cited for forging illegal citizenship forms for Asians that arrive by freight shipments. Yep, Asians arriving on a boat... However my point is that to put the "talking points" on Univision and Hispanics will assume you only mean them. Yes, illegal is illegal, but the answer is to pass the fair tax. No loopholes, no illegals avoiding taxes. The cash illegals carry is still green. If anything arrest and deport those only if they are directly drug related criminals.

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Sandykin 1 year, 1 month ago

The difference between immigrants 75 to a hundred years ago and now is that they came over in ships with manifests. They entered this country through ports which also kept records. When census workers came knocking at the door, they answered and were counted. We knew they were here. They had a trail of documentation to say they were here and many who were in the workforce did get their citizenship (at least this is my family's history).

Today, they are coming in "under the radar" of the government and that's the problem. I support the idea that they should be able to easily register as resident aliens. If we make this process easy - as easy as going to a local library and filling out a form (much like citizens do to register to vote). We could use this form to give them a number similar to our SSN that allows them to live here, own property here and work here legally. However, I do think voting rights should be a privilege extended only to legal citizens. If they want the right to vote, they should take the initiative to become a legal citizen. If we have the ability to register legal aliens with no path to citizenship, I believe the line for those wanting to become citizens will be shorter.

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notblind 1 year, 1 month ago

I completely disagree with your supposition that the illegals are " ...coming in "under the radar" of the government...". IMO the federal government encourages illegal immigration and only makes half hearted efforts at immigration law enforcement. I also believe they have a good idea of the actual number of illegals here and it's far more than they would have you believe.

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R 1 year, 1 month ago

Thats why its time to raise entering our country illegally by any means to FELONY status. We've allowed those enlightened bodies in DC to muck with the border since 1908...

I want my son to be able to address some other issue during his adult life than repeatedly revisiting this prime example of

"Government gone FUBAR"

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R 1 year, 1 month ago

Thats why its time to raise entering our country illegally by any means to FELONY status. We've allowed those enlightened bodies in DC to muck with the border since 1908...

I want my son to be able to address some other issue during his adult life than repeatedly revisiting this prime example of

"Government gone FUBAR"

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notblind 1 year, 2 months ago

Also, people that use the word 'immigrant' when the proper term is 'illegal alien' are showing a basic level of dishonesty that should be a warning about other things they are being dishonest about. Things like statistics, the future impact of giving these illegal aliens and their offspring full voting rights, the assimilation of these people, etc.

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citized 1 year, 1 month ago

The path should lead back to Mexico and where the immigrants came from.

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John_Smith 1 year, 1 month ago

There is already a path of legally entering the country. The problem is they don't want to walk that path. They want someone to carry them down it.

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DavidBrown 1 year, 1 month ago

I agree with you Senator Thompson. Keep speaking out on this important issue.

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news2me 1 year, 1 month ago

You should contact Senator Thompson and open up your home as a Illegal Alien sponsor family. If this issue is that important to you, speak out by opening up your wallet to help an Illegal Alien family.

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R 1 year, 1 month ago

Absolutely no reason in the world not to...

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DB 1 year, 1 month ago

news2me, I agree.

We should let Mr. Brown and Mr. Thompson put THEIR money where their mouth is.

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BuzzG 1 year, 1 month ago

"America's immigration system is broken."

Yes, it is broken. And that is because people like you, Mr. Thompson, refuse to enforce the law.

Illegal aliens already have a path to citizenship. It begins back in the country where they come from. It requires that they get in line behind those who have respect for our laws and have applied to get here legally. Let the illegal aliens go home and apply for re-entry the legal way.

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