Georgia Should Veto Anti-Immigrant Legislation

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; [email protected]

Georgia Risks Walking Down Divisive Path

LOS ANGELES, Calif. —  Today, the Georgia legislature passed HB 87, a piece of legislation that draws from Arizona’s ill-conceived racial profiling law, SB 1070.  If signed by Governor Deal, the bill would lead to increased racial profiling and negatively affect Georgia’s economy.  Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

Despite its long history as the epicenter of the civil rights movement, Georgia is threatening to effectively strip countless Georgians of their fundamental rights.  If signed by Governor Deal, Georgia will become the third ‘papers please’ state—following in the footsteps of Arizona and Utah.  People of color will be subjected to state-sanctioned racial profiling, interrogation, and unlawful detention if this bill is enacted.

“Georgia’s governor has a choice: he can sign this deeply misguided law and polarize his state or he can reject such attempts to score political points at the expense of Georgia’s economy and community.  If HB 87 becomes law, Georgia will be thrown back to the days in which recently freed African Americans were subjected to a ‘papers please’ society when African Americans suffered under the Slave Papers.

“The dangers posed by HB 87 are not just moral. They are practical as well. Law enforcement officers across the country have declared that harsh legislation that attacks immigrants and erodes trust between immigrant communities and those charged with serving them, threatening public safety for everyone.

“Arizona’s business leaders have testified about the disastrous economic consequences that SB 1070 has had on their industries.  And prominent civil rights groups have promised to boycott Georgia’s new racial profiling law.  Furthermore, the bill would mandate E-Verify, sending Georgia down the same perilous economic path as Arizona, a state that has mandated the use of this flawed employment verification system and ranks near the bottom of almost every economic indicator. This isn’t the type of legislation Georgians can afford.

“The choice is clear, Governor Deal.  We must learn from Georgia’s rich civil rights history.  And we must not return to its painful past.  It’s time to show the country that the race-based and unconstitutional policies of hate, engineered in Arizona, have no place in Georgia.”

View an up-to-date map of copycat bills in the 2011 state legislative sessions.

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