The major bills on illegal immigration now moving through the state Capitol, SB 40 and HB 87, are very different in scope, but agree on one crucial point – most businesses in Georgia should be required to use the federal computer registry known as E-Verify to ascertain whether a new hire is a legal resident of the United States.
SB 40, sponsored by state Sen. Jack Murphy, has a clause intended to exempt farmers. HB 87, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Ramsey, does not.
This afternoon, after a speech to the Georgia Farm Bureau, Gov. Nathan Deal was asked whether farmers should be exempted. He didn’t answer that question directly – but he did indicate he had been approached by some who don’t think the system should be used at all.
“There are questions being raised whether or not the E-Verify system is what we all assume that it is – easily used, reliable and accurate. I have not investigated those concerns. If that is a problem, then, of course, forcing someone to do something that’s not going to produce the results that you want is non-productive in the long run.
“We’re going to look at that, because the issue has been raised recently. We don’t want to become an undue burden on those who are trying to do the right thing. If E-Verify is a viable source of determining status – and that’s what it is intended to be – then I think it is a legitimate way of trying to determine what you’re really asking. And that is, are you actually authorized to work here in the United States.”
But as a congressman, Deal sponsored legislation to require that all businesses use the E-Verify system. Have his views changed?
”I’m just hearing some concerns expressed lately about the complexity of the use of the system by those who apparently have tried to use it [and] feel it is not what it has been proposed to be. I think it deserves to have those concerns investigated, and I have not done that up to this point.”
Would he accept an E-Verify exemption for farmers?
”I would hope that we would avoid that carving out of anybody in any particular category. I do recognize the great difficulty that they have – seasonal in nature, in some cases – which is not necessarily the same environment of a work force that other industries depend on.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider