Lawmakers focus on anti-immigrant bills

[private]Georgia legislators are moving bills forward that would crack down on immigrants residing in Georgia, regardless of whether the immigrants are documented or undocumented.

Two bills aimed at immigrants were adopted Friday in the House and Senate and two more measures still have a chance of passage before the session adjourns.

The House passed HB 781, a bill that would prohibit local governments from appointing persons who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to a council or committee.

HB 781 is sponsored by Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R-Johns Creek), a freshman lawmaker who said the bill “puts Georgians first.”

“I believe that’s the appropriate measure,” Raffensperger said.

Critics of HB 781 said the bill was an insult to business people from other countries who might relocate to Georgia for career reasons – such as a Kia Motors executive who moves from Korea to West Point to work with the company’s auto plant.

“We live in an international city, we live in a state that does business globally,” said Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta). “This seems to me a very short-sighted thing to do.”

“This bill attempts to solve a problem that does not exist,” said Rep. B. J. Pak (R-Lilburn), a Korean-American.

“I am confused why the Republican leadership used so much energy to pass a bill that had no purpose other than insulting people,” said Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur).

The vote on HB 781 was 93-50, which was two votes more than minimum requirement of 91 votes. Republicans Pak, Ron Stephens, Butch Parrish, Betty Price, and Chuck Williams, along with Independent Rusty Kidd, voted against the bill. There were 21 House Republicans who declined to vote on it.

The Senate voted 49-2 for SB 269, a bill that would punish local governments that fail to produce documented evidence showing that they aren’t “sanctuary cities.”

SB 269 would require local officials to prove that they are complying with federal detention requests involving undocumented immigrants. Local governments that don’t do this would have their state funding cut off.

Georgia already has a law that prohibits local governments from adopting “sanctuary city” policies, but SB 269 would add reporting requirements to that law.

SB 6, a bill that would prohibit the issuance of driver’s licenses to persons who are allowed to reside in Georgia through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, is on the Senate calendar for a vote on Monday.

SR 675, a proposed constitutional amendment that would designate English as the “official language” of Georgia, is also pending in the Senate but is not on Monday’s calendar.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: DACA , driver\'s licenses , immigrants , local governments , sanctuary cities