State lawmakers clash over immigration as study panel meets for third time

Democratic and Republican state lawmakers staked out different positions in the debate over illegal immigration Thursday, as a special committee studying ways to crackdown on the problem met for the third and perhaps final time before the Legislature convenes.

Minutes before the all-Republican committee met, a pair of Democratic state lawmakers held a news conference, warning against any legislation that would scare immigrants away from Georgia and hurt the state’s economy. Georgia’s $65 billion agricultural industry, they noted, relies heavily on immigrant workers.

“We need policies that grow our economy, that create jobs and that move us back on the road to a prosperous Georgia,” said Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta, who appeared alongside Rep. Virgil Fludd, D-Tyrone. “Ill-conceived anti-immigrant legislation won’t do that.”

Last week, the Georgia Farm Bureau — which represents nearly 400,000 families — weighed in on illegal immigration, saying “it is a federal issue, not a state or local issue.” Meeting at their annual convention on Jekyll Island, delegates to the bureau adopted a policy that says the organization opposes “any immigration law that discriminates against the farm worker and puts the farmers of Georgia at a disadvantage to farmers in other states.”

On Thursday, the co-chairman of the Joint House and Senate Study Committee on Immigration Reform said they plan to introduce omnibus legislation in both chambers of the Legislature before it convenes next month. Among the long list of ideas they have been considering is an Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigrants here.

Sen. Jack Murphy, a committee co-chairman, said his bill will include some requirement for certain private employers to use a federal work authorization program to ensure any prospective employees are eligible to work in the U.S. He said he is still working on his legislation and has not yet identified which businesses would be required to use the e-verify system. State law already requires businesses with state or local government contracts to ensure their employees can legally work in this country.

“We are not going to do anything that would economically hurt the state as far as agriculture is concerned,” he said, adding about Orrock and Fludd: “It would have been nice if they had come to us with a concern rather than having a press conference out there without giving us any benefit of the doubt.”

36 comments Add your comment

Georgian

December 16th, 2010
6:44 pm

Murphy is already talking about exemptions. Then what does this committee mean about “enforcing the rule of law”? “enforce” only the parts that don’t impact employers or agriculture? This committee is a sham.

alison26

December 16th, 2010
7:13 pm

The same old lame excuse, the farmers are going to lack workers, but why are there so many illegals in front of Home Depot seeking work, and in our Welfare offices seeking government assistance? What has happened, as the Hispanic population have grown, so have the political opportunist and with that an influx of illegals knowing that their illegal entry and status will be upheld and protected by the political influence and cards they now hold. With this knowledge they are taking advanage and cleaning us out economically and socially, like a surgeon with a scalpel.

RBN

December 16th, 2010
7:48 pm

It would have been appropriate to have had Democrats represented bon the committee. If you don’t want other points of view then you get news conferences putting other ideas forward.

cs

December 16th, 2010
7:59 pm

I doubt half the local governments use e-verify as required. Some fines and/or holding up state funds would get their attention. And farmers dont need immigrants or illegals they just dont want to pay a decent wage so they exploit the poor and desperate. Sounds just like the greedy hordes we just bailed out on wall street and now we are expecred to let farmers have a pass. Screw that.

CAMDENME2

December 16th, 2010
8:37 pm

If you are an illegal,please get the hell out of Georgia including any and all bleeding heart liberals!!!!

WAW

December 16th, 2010
9:32 pm

Georgian… after reading articles from around the state, not only is this committee a sham, the entire government of the state is a sham. But, read above and you know that the people who voted chose to have it just this way. Goodbye teachers, goodbye HOPE Scholarship, goodbye agriculture, goodbye and goodbye and goodbye. Until people take time to vote it is all downhill. The Redcoat Band will be playing Dixie again real soon.

eatmotacos

December 16th, 2010
10:33 pm

Is carpet a fruit or a vegetable? Dalton, the carpet capital of the world, has the highest concentration of illegal aliens in the state( along with the highest level of unemployment). The agriculture excuse doesn’t fly here. Thousands of native citizens have been displaced from jobs in Dalton, and not all from low level carpet manufacturing jobs. In a one industry town, allmost every business derives its income from the carpet mills’s payrolls. When those payrolls are placed in the hands of people who only speak Spanish, then businesses are forced to employ Spanish speaking employees – bank tellers, receptionist, real estate agents, car salesmen, attorneys, doctors, etc. etc. Every one of these Spanish speaking employees or small business owners is displacing a native English speaking citizen. This reference to only jobs Americans won’t do is complete nonsense. It doesn’t factor in all of the jobs lost due to the language barrier. Don’t expect our corrupt politicians to do anything of substance – where their allegiance lies, by now, should be obivous to even the least informed.

Fire Eater

December 17th, 2010
5:00 am

Everyone should read PAT BUCHANAN’s Dec. 16 column on immigration…Google him.

Dick

December 17th, 2010
6:22 am

A simple two question application.
1-are you a citizen. If yes, pay your taxes
2-do you have your legal papers, if yes pay your taxes.

If you answer NO to either question, get out and stay out.

chkrdr

December 17th, 2010
6:33 am

come to this country legal is all we ask!!

Laurie

December 17th, 2010
7:32 am

Georgia has a 10.1% unemployment rate. That indicates a large enough pool of local workers to fill these agricultural jobs. I think anyone looking for the next unemployment check should be required to apply for one of these jobs.

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
9:32 am

Laurie, I was down in Vidalia during picking season and there were not enough workers picking the onions despite the downturn in our economy. Laurie, do YOU want to pick onions or pluck chickens?

td

December 17th, 2010
9:45 am

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
9:32 am
Laurie, I was down in Vidalia during picking season and there were not enough workers picking the onions despite the downturn in our economy. Laurie, do YOU want to pick onions or pluck chickens?

And here is the problem with America today. An entitlement mentality that says I am too good to “pick onions or pluck chickens” to support my family, I would rather grip about extending unemployment or collect welfare. What would our grandparents say to us about this mentality?

Its a joke

December 17th, 2010
10:00 am

I keep saying to my representative to get rid of generational welfare. In other words you tell a mom or dad whos raising kids on welfare, Hey, make sure your kids graduate highschool and get good grades to get a grant or schoolarship because they will never, EVER qualify for welfare because they were raised on the program. If a child drops out of school and the parents are on welfare then the welfare should end. If a child gets pregnate and her parents are on welfare OH WELL. Live off the one check but she better continue to attend school because she WILL NOT qualify for welfare.

Thats the way you cut the welfare once and for all.

apsmith76

December 17th, 2010
10:15 am

Once again, I see that any discussion about immigration here is Georgia, especially on the AJC blogs, is filled with people who have NO CLUE what they are talking about. Yep….living up to the hype of the stereotype…. Most of you are mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, backward ass rednecks.

And before you enter your illiterate, poorly constructed responses to my comment here, please take the time to read the U.S. Constitution and note that states have absolutely NO legal grounds to regulate or interfere in immigration matters. This is solely left to the U.S. Government. If you don’t like the way they are doing it, maybe you should go live in another country.

eatmotacos

December 17th, 2010
10:25 am

Laurie, I was down in Vidalia during picking season and there were not enough workers picking the onions despite the downturn in our economy. Laurie, do YOU want to pick onions or pluck chickens?

Laurie would probably pick onions or pluck chickens for the right compensation. The problem is, the farmer, like the carpet mill, only pays a fraction of the expenses incurred by the onion picker(which includes medical expenses, room, board, schooling and transportation, etc. for the spouse and kids), the remainder is forced onto the taxpayers. Taxpayers would be much better off if the people who want to eat onions paid more for them. We have done the math on this in Dalton, where the city schools are now 70% Hispanic, with a matching number of students categorized as underprivledged(taxpayers buy their lunches). If the carpet mills had to pay all of the cost associated with each illegal alien that they employee, they would go broke – as it stands, they force these cost on the taxpayers. We are not just talking about financal cost – the social cost are even more enormous.

Varinia

December 17th, 2010
10:38 am

Google ’social security suspense file’ and you will find that social security would probably be broke right now, if it wasn’t for illegal aliens. This file collects data on tax payments where there’s a discrepancy with the social security number, which is usually due to someone making up a number.
In 2005 there was about $ 350 billion in that file. Right now there are estimates between $ 700 and $ 800 billion in it. Without that money social security accounts would be empty now.

td

December 17th, 2010
11:01 am

apsmith76

December 17th, 2010
10:15 am

And before you enter your illiterate, poorly constructed responses to my comment here, please take the time to read the U.S. Constitution and note that states have absolutely NO legal grounds to regulate or interfere in immigration matters. This is solely left to the U.S. Government. If you don’t like the way they are doing it, maybe you should go live in another country.

Do you mean to tell me that Article one section 8: “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization” give the Federal government total power to allow illegals to live and work in Georgia? From my plain English reading of this clause, it gives the Federal government exclusive power to prescribe how a non-citizen can become a citizen. Where does it say how a state should react to a non-citizen living in a state without proper documentation?

You seem to forget about the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”

I think the interpretation of the clause in Article one is in doubt then the Supreme court will have the final say so on whose interpretation is correct?

I bet with your reading of the constitution you also believe that only the military has the right to keep and bear arms? OOOPPPs, I guess that reality sort of hit hard didn’t it?

apsmith76

December 17th, 2010
11:27 am

@ td @ 11:01 a.m. – Again, read your ENTIRE Constitution

You ask “Do you mean to tell me that Article one section 8: “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization” give the Federal government total power to allow illegals to live and work in Georgia?”

Your line of logic here is dubious. According to Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution, “[The Congress Shall Have The Power] To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Whether or not laws on the books are being enforced or are effective, Georgia and other states, as well as municipalities, are explicitly prohibited from making state laws on immigration, period. This opinion is not just mine, but also that of countless courts and legal experts over the last 100+ years. Every time a state or locality tries to legislate on these matters, the courts strike these local and state laws down based on federal preemption.

Until Georgia secedes from the U.S. (which would be a very dumb idea, but, you know, you can’t fix stupid), then Georgia law and policy must comport with Federal law and the U.S. Constitution. Suck it up and deal with it.

(Nice try on baiting me on the Second Amendment issue, by the way. Your attempts to distract from the issue at hand are laughable.)

apsmith76

December 17th, 2010
11:31 am

@ td @ 11:01 a.m.

Oh, and another thing….

Regarding your statement: You seem to forget about the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”

Please, AGAIN, refer to Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution.

(This is SOOOOO elementary, folks. C’mon.)

Laurie

December 17th, 2010
11:37 am

Hi Georgian. I’m not picking onions because I am already employed. But I wasn’t employed in 2002, when our economy hit a rough patch with 911. Instead of biding my time on unemployment, hoping for the return of a nice paying job that may or may not come back, I moved from Texas to South Carolina to take a grind of a job making much less money. I did my time, took my beat down, and am in a much better place for it today. So you comment is pointless to me.

td

December 17th, 2010
12:15 pm

apsmith76

December 17th, 2010
11:27 am

“This opinion is not just mine, but also that of countless courts and legal experts over the last 100+ years”

If it is such settled law then why are there several cases headed for the Supreme court right now and why are there several states making the same types of laws as Georgia is contemplating?

When was the last time the US Supreme court has given and opinion of this matter? Please cite the case?

BTW: Since the US Government is not enforcing the laws on immigration then why does a state have to listen to the US government on the subject of immigration? What makes you think the US government would enforce states to abide by their non enforcement? Tricky questions but I really want to hear your liberal take.

td

December 17th, 2010
12:23 pm

apsmith76

December 17th, 2010
11:27 am

“Georgia and other states, as well as municipalities, are explicitly prohibited from making state laws on immigration, period”

And where is that specifically written in the constitution? or is it just implied by your logic?

So by your logic a state can not write a state law exactly like a federal law and enforce said law that the federal government is choosing not to enforce? Very interesting theory you libs pull out when it suits you. I guess under your same argument that means the states do not have to enforce laws handed down by the Federal government?

eatmotacos

December 17th, 2010
12:30 pm

The US Supreme Court has held that the constitution gives the federal government primary responsibility for promulgating and enforcing immigration laws. There is nothing in Article 1 saying anything about or conveying exclusive authority to the federal government to regulate immigration. Moreover, there is no need to rely on his “reading” of the constitution; the Supreme Court has already interpreted this provision. What the high Court has held is that so long as state legislation is not inconsistent with nor preempted by, the federal constitution, states may pass legislation that touches on immigration matters. This is, after all, consistent with the 10th Amendment, which reserves to the states all powers not specifically delegated to the US government.

The federal judge who threw out most of the Arizona law has since upheld part of it, even though it touches on immigration. She held (as have other federal courts) that states are free to mandate that their law enforcement agencies cooperate with federal law enforcement in enforcing the immigration laws (e.g., turning over arrestees who are illegal to the border patrol).

EZRA

December 17th, 2010
12:44 pm

Varinia

December 17th, 2010
10:38 am
That is a liberal legalism in my mind. Illegal immigrants must fill out a I9 and some various other forms upon hire. On these forms they must declare how many dependents they have to claim. I witnessed 18 yrs olds and up claim six dependents, that is 6. Very little tax is taken from their wages and as far as I can tell none file their taxes at the end of the year. That means they owe money for income earned. It is more than paying in fica tax. You need to learn the whole story and if you do- respond using the whole story.

EZRA

December 17th, 2010
12:48 pm

Remember your minimum wage is $7.25 per hour the prevailing wage for immigrants is $9.24. Why do they get a higher minimum wage?

apsmith76

December 17th, 2010
1:07 pm

@ td

I give up….really. Apparently, you are too stupid to understand what I’m saying, no matter how many times I say it. Continue in your ignorance. I hope it serves you well.

eatmotacos

December 17th, 2010
1:13 pm

td,

This presumptuous know-it-all is way over his head when he talks about the limits the US Constitution places on the states ability to legislate affecting immigration. He is presuming to have knowledge he does not have.

Richard Pellegrino

December 17th, 2010
2:09 pm

You know that there really is no issue here and that so-called illegal immigration is not a real problem but an invented one to scapegoat some group and divert attention away from the real issues when all you hear from this lynch mob of so-called legislators and from writers here are the same tired myths and lies–like, they are criminals, they don’t pay taxes, they take more than they give back, etc, etc ad nauseum. Sorry, the facts and independent research doesn’t support that fear mongering and I will be happy to provide references for those studies to those who really want facts–but, now does anyone really want to be confused by the facts? And if all the real “illegals” went back and disappeared–poof, there wouldn’t be many people left at all here.
pilgrim1@mindspring.com

[...] joint state legislative committee on illegal immigration in Georgia held their third and final hearing yesterday. Our Inger Eberhart was the last to address the committee members and went on after many [...]

illuminator!

December 17th, 2010
4:16 pm

Let me see if I have this right. We have a reported rate of 10.1% unemployment and an actual rate of 17% unemployment of legal American citizens and our illustrious Dumocrat friends are worried about running off the illegal aliens because they couldn’t get the crops picked. Who are they trying to kid? I’d take one of those jobs in a heartbeat. I’ve picked my share of cotton and am not afraid to do it again. Stop sucking up to Hispanic votes and get on with it!

Tom

December 17th, 2010
5:18 pm

ILLUMINATOR – Well said!!! Just shows the Dumocrats(not misspelled) are more concerned with the ILLEGALS welfare than they are of the black, white and brown AMERICAN CITIZENS!!!!

eatmotacos

December 17th, 2010
6:19 pm

Richard Pellegrino
December 17th, 2010
2:09 pm

“You know that there really is no issue here and that so-called illegal immigration is not a real problem but an invented one…you hear from this lynch mob of so-called legislators and from writers here are the same tired myths and lies…”

I totally agree with you about writers, like you, perpetuating the same tired myths and lies. I suppose your hypothesis is that repetition of falsehoods will eventually alter peoples’ ability to interpret reality.

No one can tell me, with a straight face, that allowing 10’s of millions of unscreened ,uneducated, third world indigents, who don’t speak our language, to flood into this country, is in any way, form or fashion, positive. You couldn’t have done more damage to Dalton if you had dropped an atomic bomb on it – it is forever, and for all time, wrecked. It is for all practical purposes, a third world slum – it epitomizes the impact that not enforcing our immigration laws can have on the overwhelming majority of people who live in a community.

Fire Eater

December 18th, 2010
6:32 am

Open-borders fanatics spout nonsense about “the Constitution says that immigration is a federal issue” while ignoring the first US law passed by the WRITERS of that Constitution – the Immigration Act of 1790. Nearly all of the current invaders fall FAR short of the Founding Father’s standards.

We will be watching our elected representatives to see if they go squishy on this MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE OF ALL TIME.

lynnbo

December 18th, 2010
3:44 pm

When I pay taxes I am now destroying my fellow american and his family. My tax money is taken and subsides many many industries in GA who refuse to pay a living wage. With malace towards none who come here seeking a better life, do to low wages they get money for housing, food stamps, health care,education, dental, after school care and tutoring for english, free lunches and breakfast for children and rebates on their tax returns. They do not follow our laws with car insurance and support stores that are owned by illegals who prefer cash they don’t report.
So the illegals are living on government plantations and we are destroying american citizens who can not live on low wages and not get welfare or don’t want welfare just a chance to work.
This economic destruction is what our government does with our tax dollars, they destroy America.
Come to Hall County and watch many, many industries employees leave the building, you will not see many Americans. Hall County schools are full of non-english speaking poor students.
Agriculture is a minor player in the loss of jobs. No one reports the truth, business owners like Hormel make billions and america citizens suffer and we are forced to help destroy our own people.

juna

December 19th, 2010
9:25 am

Why pick any thing when you get free food , housing and everything else not working, sell my drugs for money get free from my 9 kids.. I going nowhere.