Georgia, Immigrants & Prison labor
By: Reid J. Epstein
June 14, 2011 12:49 PM EDT
With Georgia's restrictive immigration law set to kick
in, Gov. Nathan Deal Tuesday is sending convicted
criminals to fill farm jobs vacated by undocumented
immigrants fleeing the state.
Deal, a first-term Republican, issued a statement on
Tuesday morning calling on the state's commissioners of
labor, corrections and agriculture to work together to
connect unemployed probationers with a state agriculture
industry now desperate for workers.
"I believe this would be a great partial solution to our
current status as we continue to move towards
sustainable results with the legal options available,"
Deal said in his statement.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who wrote the
Arizona and more-restrictive Alabama immigration laws,
told POLITICO the state-level immigration battles will
soon move from conservative to swing states like
Missouri and Pennsylvania.
According to Deal, Georgia has 100,000 probationers,
with 8,000 in the state's heavily-agricultural
southwest. A full quarter of the probationers, he said,
Georgia lawmakers in April passed legislation that
mirrors Arizona's controversial 2010 measure. The Peach
State will require businesses to confirm employees'
immigration status and gives law enforcement power to
check whether suspects are in the country legally.
The governor's suggestion comes days after Georgia's
agriculture commissioner, Gary Black, delivered to Deal
a survey that found state farm owners have 11,080 jobs
they now need to fill.
The vast majority of those jobs pay $15 per hour or less
and last between one and six months, Black's survey
Jerry Gonzalez, the executive director of the Georgia
Association of Latino Elected Officials, said the move
won't help save farmers he said could lose $300 million
because of the loss of migrant workers.
"This points to complete out-of-touch perspective that
some of our legislators and our leadership in this state
have with regard to the current immigration crisis we
are facing," Gonzalez said. "The governor is really
shortchanging on solutions for our number one industry."
(c) 2011 Capitol News Company, LLC
Mexico, several other countries seek to halt Georgia's
new anti-illegal immigration law
By Jeremy Redmon
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 15, 2011
The Anti-Defamation League, Mexico and the governments
of several Central and South American countries filed
court papers Wednesday in support of efforts to halt
Georgia's tough new immigration enforcement law.
The other countries joining on the side of those seeking
a preliminary injunction in the case include Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty
Law Center and several other civil and immigrant rights
groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit against
Georgia's law this month and are now asking a judge to
halt the measure pending the outcome of their case. They
argue the measure - also known as House Bill 87 - is
preempted by federal law and is unconstitutional.
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