Georgia governor signs “Arizona style” anti-immigration bill

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law on May 13 an “Arizona style” anti-illegal immigration bill, HB 87, that allows law enforcement officers to ask about immigration status when questioning suspects in criminal investigations. The law also imposes fines and prison sentences of up to one year for anyone who knowingly transports illegal immigrants during the commission of a crime, and requires businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to check the immigration status of potential employees, providing that workers convicted of using fake identification to gain employment could face up to 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. A CNN report described the measure as “one of the toughest anti-illegal immigration measures enacted by an individual state.” In addition to demonstrations outside the capitol, the legislation has drawn threats of both lawsuits and boycotts, as have similar recent measures in other states.

The Georgia General Assembly approved the bill in April. Several other state legislatures have also acted recently to implement so-called “Arizona style” immigration laws. Last month, the Indiana House of Representatives approved legislation to revoke tax credits from businesses that hire “illegal” immigrants and require the use of the E-verify system to check the eligibility status of employees. Legislation similar to Georgia’s has also been approved in Alabama, Virginia and Oklahoma. Arizona’s law is currently enjoined, and Gov. Jan Brewer has pledged to appeal to the US Supreme Court.

From Jurist, May 14. Used with permission.

See our last post on the politics of immigration.