Ramsey’s tough immigration bill passes out of committee
Amendment makes it crime to offer forged, false documents to gain employment
The new immigration bill proposed by Peachtree City Rep. Matt Ramsey was approved by the Georgia House of Representatives Judiciary (Non-Civil) Committee Monday.
Ramsey, one of the Republican floor leaders for Gov. Nathan Deal, said he is hopeful the bill will be voted on by the full House of Representatives soon. Doing so will allow it to be considered by the Senate before the end of this year’s legislative session.
The bill would allow but not require law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of any person who is being investigated, whether the investigation is for a criminal or traffic violation.
Federal immigration officials currently only deport illegal aliens who have committed felony crimes, and existing Georgia law requires all persons booked on felonies to have their immigration status checked, Ramsey has said.
However, the new legislation will help identify the extent of the state’s problem with illegal immigrants even if they ultimately aren’t deported, Ramsey has said.
The bill also would require private employers to use a federal database system to verify that a prospective employee is a legal resident of the United States.
A new provision of the bill has been added to prosecute illegal aliens who knowingly use false citizenship documents to seek employment. That offense will be considered “aggravated identity fraud” and will carry a prison sentence between three and 15 years along with a fine of up to $250,000.
The bill is designed to help protect jobs for legal residents of Georgia, Ramsey said.
Another portion of the bill would restrict illegal aliens from receiving public benefits, which stands to save the state a significant amount of money, Ramsey added.
Unlike a similar Senate bill, Ramsey’s legislation does not carve out any exemptions that would allow illegal aliens to gain employment in specified jobs such as those in agriculture.