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Georgia Takes Arizona’s Lead on Immigration

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My home state, Georgia, falling in lockstep with Arizona and other states that have attempted to take a cavalier approach to the immigration delimma, recently passed its own law, and Gov. Nathan Deal subsequently told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he intends to sign the bill into law.

Proponents of the bill, which allows local and state law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of suspects, say the passage is a triumph in light of the federal government’s inadequate enforcement measures, while opponents claim the bill will put more burden on local businesses and will result in racial profiling.

Rep. Matt Ramsey, the Georgia House bill sponsor, had this to say after the bill’s passage:

It’s a great day for Georgia. We think we have done our job that our constituents asked us to do to address the costs and the social consequences that have been visited upon our state by the federal government’s failure to secure our nation’s borders.

The legislation would also require businesses of more than 10 employees to use the federal E-Verify system to check the status of hired employees.

Jann Moore, with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, said the plan would put undue pressure on businesses amid a still-struggling economic climate:

We’re coming out of [a] recession, and businesses are doing all they can do right now to stay afloat. To turn around and put the responsibility of another policy on business is the wrong thing to do. The timing could not be worse.

Parts of Arizona’s law have been put on hold because of federal challenges of constitutionality. Georgia’s version, which resembles Arizona’s Senate Bill, is one of a handful of state immigration laws that have passed nationwide. It could suffer the fate of Arizona’s since the constitution, opponent say, suggests that the federal government alone confers citizenship. 

According to the 14th Amendment, Section 1, Clause 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

The key words here are “jurisdiction thereof.” Two relevent definitions of “jurisdiction” follow:

  1. the right, power, or authority to administer justice byhearing and determining controversies.
  2. power; authority; control: He has jurisdiction over allAmerican soldiers in the area.

The above clause does not say, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and the individual states, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” but that jurisdiction belongs to the United States as a whole, and while individual concerns about immigration are understood, states’ attempts to skirt federal law may present a dangerous precedent, not only because of the possibility of racial profiling by law enforcement officials, but because this could result in a hodgepodge of immigration laws across the nation.

Columnist Tom Crawford, with the Georgia Report, said that even if Deal signs the bill, the buck would stop there:

The U.S. Justice Department will challenge the law in federal court and have it set aside – just as they did with the Arizona law. That’s why all this talk about solving the immigration problem at the state level is a sham. This is the federal government’s problem and the blame for not resolving it must fall on the people elected to Congress.

In Georgia’s case, that would be Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss. Both have taken a hard-line approach on the issue of immigration, and both voted “nay” to a reform bill in 2007. Chambliss’ record. Isakson’s record.

In addition to the legal questions of Georgia’s bill, implicit in the discussion is the perceived damage such legislation might do to the economy, which in Georgia is largely agricultural. Local growers have said they are worried that if the immigration bill actually goes into effect, many members of their current workforce will jump ship and local farms won’t have enough labor to pick crops and tend the fields. Outside of the Atlanta metro, the economic impact could be detrimental.

[Photo credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC – Ouafae Azhari (foreground) shouts out as other demonstrators protest Georgia House Bill 87 outside the Capitol on the final day of the 2011 legislative session.]
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About Jeremy Styron

  • Does Obama have the constitutional authority to take over health care, 1/6 of the US economy? No. But he would certainly have that authority under the Communist Manifesto.

  • Sally

    I think that a lot of Georgia employers have decided that illegal immigrants are good for Georgia *employers*.

    In 1850 a lot of Georiga employers thought slavery was a good economic deal for “Georgia”. I’m pretty sure there were a lot of people living in Georgia who didn’t think slavery was such a great deal.

    Funny how the people who benefit from exploiting others desperately want the exploitation to continue while others can see the inherent immorality of such exploitation.

  • Boeke

    Apparently, Georgias employers and businessmen must have already judged that illegal immigrants are a good economic deal for Georgia because they eagerly hire them.

  • Joe

    If illegal immigrants are truly a great economic advantage for Georgia, then this bill will hurt Georgia. As illegal immigrants leave Georgia and take their tax dollars to other states (or to another country) Georgia will suffer the consequences.

    Why don’t we let this play out and prove that Georgia cannot survive without illegal immigrants?

    If our pro-illegal arguments are correct, Georgia will suffer economically, see that illegal immigrants are the key to success and will beg them to move back.

    We need to give Georgians a chance to see how terrible life is without 400,000 illegal immigrants doing all the work.

  • Boeke

    “Great job Georgia! I live in California, and unfortunately illegal aliens have already destroyed this state.”

    Uh, I thought it was 30 years of republican governors and 30 years of republican legislative obstructionism.

  • Felipe Pacheco


  • What’s this ‘legal’ immigration crap?

    Hey, take all y’alls and go the fuck back to Europe, we were here first and you’ve trashed the place since you came over.

  • I actually plan to immigrate out of the US in the future.

    I think Anonymous is about to become seriously confused.

  • Anonymous

    America is turning into sh8t with the passing of each racist immigration law. I actually plan to immigrate out of the US in the future. Let all the white supremicist have their white America.

  • Fabiola

    Well I got ten words, “They can’t deport us all.”

  • Marcos salinas

    All those things about illigal immigrants that never pay taxes are nothing but lies, everyone in this country has to pay a tax….on anything they buy,any bill they pay, even cashing checks….every illigal immigrant gets taxed on ssn, medicare/medicaid etc. But since they are illigal they never get to use this services, and to me people don’t really think about what the illigal immigrants do for this country….for this state.
    Imigine all those 480,000 illigal immmigrants spended 100 per week on any product such as food….that’s 48,000,000 per week!
    All i hear from all this people that are against illigal immigrants is that they take our jobs…they don’t pay taxes…they are using our resources..
    But i never hear anything about all the good things immigrants do for this country….for the nation that is now their home!

  • Justin

    Great job Georgia! I live in California, and unfortunately illegal aliens have already destroyed this state.

  • Stephanie Sanchez

    I Say they think about their desscion and respect hispanics ! really Jesus Needs to be in their Heart Racism

  • Stephanie Sanchez

    I Think they need ti respect us . We are all human and equal . Some People need God . Please Respect .

  • Thanks for reading, GeorgiaLatino, and adding your thoughts.

    @Brittanicus: Is this comment spam or did you just type all that?

  • Brittanicus

    No need to deport as the cost would be enormous; not that matters to Washington? The demand from TEA PARTY Senators and Congressman of the newly revised, E-Verify that will detect illegal aliens in the workplace will enforce the 1986 Reagan law. Nobody is to be exempt–longtime employees and new hires will be verified; Attrition by enforcement! Severe fines of companies who scorn the law, including business asset confiscation and imprisonment; not house arrest, but placement in the general prison population. Just because you own a business, doesn’t mean you can hire illegal labor? Fact is they are stealing employment, from the ten million Americans out of work. They have families to feed, mortgages to pay and so there should be zero tolerance for this heinous criminal issue. Auditing of companies should be stepped up and those caught red-handed, should be imprisoned as an example of not less than one to five years. No more slap on the wrist, but be held accountable. TO ME THAT’S A FELONY? IN FACT ENTERING AMERICA WITHOUT PERMISSION SHOULD BE CLASSIFIED AS A FELONY.

    As thousands of illegal alien families are leaving Arizona, so the price to support them there is going down. Medicaid payments for economic non-citizens will be receding, including the costs for education, health-Care and prison cells, which is the States portion of the obligation. Hundreds of millions will be saved, even a billion or so. Utah–The sanctuary State of California, Nevada can least afford it, with the Golden State bordering on a 24 Billion dollar insolvency. Those lax States are financially seem unconnected to the honest population, will find the U-haul’s and trucks crossing the State line hoping for a new refuge? They certainly won’t be heading for Georgia, but they could easily go northwards to Oregon or Washington, if State legislators approve driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. Assuredly, New Mexico that has just canceled enactment of a bill to deny driver’s licenses will get their share of economic refugees from Arizona.

    Other States where citizens and permanent resident’s rights are sold to the highest bidder will also see crowds of foreign national families arriving there. The fact is today through rampant incompetence of both political parties covering decades. The invasion has allowed by sheer neglect, attributing to the damaging US treasury deficit, that is destroying America. Households may have two parents that have been allowed to stay, because a newborn baby has received instant citizenship under the misinterpreted 14th Amendment. Over time other illegal family members have stolen across the body living in the same likely Section 8 housing. Few lawmakers have dared declare they are anti-illegal immigrant as they cringe against the Leftist “Political Correctness” garbage of the racial bigotry. But that’s the only agenda the Left has got, because they cannot fight the massive costs presented to them.
    But a few brave political advocates are not being deceived, by the gaping border fence and are now enacting laws to stem the continuous influx of illegal migrants, immigrants, criminals and almost certainly murdering terrorists. Last week, Rep. Bilbray R-CA) added his name to the list of co-sponsors for the Nuclear Priority Act that would end chain migration and the CLEAR Act that would require collaboration between local law enforcement agents and federal agents in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Ordinary working people are informing ICE of employers who are hiring illegal aliens and as the job market gets even rougher “Whistle blowers” will come out of the woodwork to report suspicious goings on? The TEA PARTY will not abide the liberal court system or the Leftist Czars hidden in the Department of InJustice. They are using unconstitutional means for clandestine amnesties, Immigration Reform, Sanctuary States or anything that has the obnoxious stench of Amnesty.

    Read about illegal alien widespread Tax fraud here, the Pdf file “Illegal Aliens and American Medicine.” here and the report “DRAINING AMERICA INTO POVERTY” here. These are reports that the Leftists, US Government Czars and radical open border zealots or lobbyists prefer you didn’t see.

    The Tea Party has a propagating foothold in the Republican Party, as thousands every day of every party affiliation is joining. The Tea Party lawmakers will not tolerate raising the debt ceiling in the US budget, to support the 20 million plus illegal alien families using the birthright baby law to gain a foothold in America. Thousands will keep coming until the American people demand the real fences be constructed and every tool available is used to stop this invasion. Want truthful answers, to your question of costs and so much more, view NumbersUSA website.

    The Tax code as it is now Creates Inequality

    it’s time that US lawmakers implemented a flat tax for everybody. The tax code is so full of fraud, so full of loopholes that corporations like General Electric, Google pay nothing; Oil companies, the sugar industry gets massive subsidies; some politician, wealthy people and corporations slip past our IRS masters, by hiding money in tax havens overseas. If everybody paid according to what they brought, sold all consumers would pay their fair share. Just like US citizens and legal residents, the average US taxpayer are forced by laws, to pay for the support of foreign nationals illegally settled here. In 2012 we must vote for a Tea Party president and a Tea party Senate and Congressman.

    We also have a growing crisis America, when illegal aliens are voting in our elections.

    NO Copyright on my blogs, comments, articles, ever. Distribute freely.

  • GeorgiaLatino

    As an Atlanta native, of African American and Latin descent, I’m embarrassed for the legislative body that claims to represent the best interests of the state as a whole.

    Be careful what you wish, Georgians, cuz you just might get it.