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Sunday, March 06, 2011

PressTV - Georgia considers anti-immigrant bill

PressTV - Georgia considers anti-immigrant bill

The state of Georgia's House of Representatives has passed an immigration bill known as the “Arizona copycat law,” which envisages extreme measures to be taken against undocumented immigrants.

The legislation, known as House Bill 87, cleared the House by a vote of 113-56 on Thursday, The Newnan Times-Herald reported.

The bill, sponsored by the Republican Representative Matt Ramsey, would require employers to verify workers' legal status using a federal database system called “E-Verify.”

Human rights and labor groups have described the bill, which also includes a measure allowing police to detain people they suspect of being undocumented immigrants, as racially motivated.

Amnesty International, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and Teamsters Local 728, along with others, helped to organize a protest outside the Capitol building on Thursday, to urge Governor Nathan Deal to veto the legislation if passed by the state Senate.

“This bill is an embarrassment to the people of Georgia. While everyday Georgians struggle to keep their homes and jobs, the legislature spends its time scapegoating hard working immigrants who contribute to Georgia's economy and culture. We can't afford to be passing racially biased laws that embarrass us in the eyes of the country and the world," Director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials Jerry Gonzalez stated.

Atlanta's Mexican Consulate has expressed concern over the “potentially grave effects” the law would have on Mexican nationals.

“As many local human rights organizations have already expressed, the consulate shares the view that measures focused on criminalizing migrants open possibilities for undue law enforcement practices and racial profiling,” the consulate said in a statement.

In response to the criticism made by the Mexican government, Ramsey stated, "I find it incredibly arrogant and audacious that the Mexican government would inject itself into the Georgia Legislature's debate on this pressing state issue."

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