Ramsey’s tough immigration bill passes out of committee

Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City)

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.

albion's picture
Joined: 12/27/2005
Wrong-way Ramsey seeks AZ 1070 redux

First off, it is a fairly significant journalistic blunder to fail to specifically identify the proposed legislation, or to provide a link to the bill, so here it is for you to read and understand without the need for spoon feeding and spin:

HB 87 "Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011" can be found at http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/fulltext/hb87.htm.

A fair assessment of HB 87 would include some discussion of the costs associated with imprisoning those found guilty of “aggravated identity fraud”, for up to 15 years.

Perhaps it would be reasonable to mention that this bill contains the exact same provisions as the Arizona law that the Federal Court recently struck down. The Arizona court struck down their ill-conceived law as it would have resulted in violations of the 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Georgia should not be spending millions of taxpayer dollars to attempt to defend this indefensible proposition.

If you doubt any of this read for yourself:

(b) During any stop of a criminal suspect by a law enforcement officer, where the officer has probable cause to believe that such suspect has committed a criminal offense, including any traffic offense, if, during the lawful detention of such suspect, the officer develops reasonable suspicion to also suspect that such person is an illegal alien, then the officer shall, when reasonably practicable, make an attempt to determine the immigration status of such suspect.

Is there such a thing as reasonable suspicion in this context?

As proposed, HB 87 will make criminals of many otherwise law abiding Georgians trying to make a living. The bill makes it a criminal offense by merely “encouraging” an illegal immigrant to enter the state. It also allows almost any citizen to bring a lawsuit against any business, local or State government agency or official by just accusing them of violating immigration law. Further, HB 87 burdens every employer doing business in Georgia with using the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system.

Agriculture, poultry, and manufacturing, several of the largest industries in the state, will be hit hard by the legislation. They’ll find themselves with an increased cost of labor and compliance, or they will simply shut down operations due to overly burdensome regulations.

This job-killing bill, stripping us all of constitutional protections should never be enacted. It is short-sighted and fundamentally wrong.

NUK_1's picture
Joined: 12/17/2007
Ramsey's bill

"Agriculture, poultry, and manufacturing, several of the largest industries in the state, will be hit hard by the legislation. They’ll find themselves with an increased cost of labor and compliance, or they will simply shut down operations due to overly burdensome regulations."

GOOD. That's life when you have to follow the law or, heaven forbid, use E-Verify. If you can't run a successful company without using illegals or are afraid of having to comply with the law like others, move. Or, maybe you'll have to succumb to the good old system of supply and demand in terms of wages and workers like other industries that don't rely on hoping/lobbying that laws are ignored and that you can get by exploiting a bunch of people.

No business has any "right" to illegal or cheap labor. I don't want to see the tears or hear the moans from a bunch of pimps any more about how tough it's going to be on them. BOO-HOO.

The bill from Ramsey is flawed, but it has nothing to do with what business wants or howls about that they "need."

roundabout's picture
Joined: 01/01/2011

You know not of what you speak!

If Georgia doesn't allow cheap laborers to harvest their crops, they can not compete with California or other state's food which is harvested by cheap labor!

The answer: a procedure to make these workers legal after a few years of meeting standards!
Unless you want to personally round up 20,000,000 of them and (do what with them)?

This is short-time, seasonal work, and not many Americans are interested very much at 8-9 dollars per hour and also lose unemployment pay!

What you are saying is similar to saying: Mandate that all Americans be fundamentalist Christians by tomorrow!

These new TEAS elected in Fayette who want such stupid bills passed are inexperienced and dumb. Only want the red-nek votes for their bellowing. They aren't smart enough or pull enough weight to come up with a serious solution!

albion's picture
Joined: 12/27/2005
Flawed indeed

I agree that business doesn't have a right to cheap labor. I'm simply offering one possible financial impact on the state. That said there are perverse incentives for business owners to pursue cheap labor, on and off shore

It's always a good idea to get everything on the table.

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