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04-18-06, 12:21 PM #1
New Georgia law cracks down on illegal immigration and the people who hire them
ATLANTA (Reuters) - The state of Georgia approved a sweeping measure on Monday to crack down on illegal immigrants and the people who hire them as a passionate debate on immigration heats up in the United States.
The law could fuel a national controversy as the federal government and other states consider how to deal with millions of undocumented workers while immigrants, many of whom are Hispanic, are displaying their political power through mass demonstrations in cities across the United States.
The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue, denies many state services paid for by taxpayers to people who are in the United States illegally.
It also forces contractors doing business with the state to verify the legal status of new workers, and requires police to notify immigration officials if people charged with crimes are illegal immigrants.
"It's our responsibility to ensure that our famous Georgia hospitality is not abused, that our taxpayers are not taken advantage of and that our citizens are protected," Perdue said before signing the law.
Other provisions of the law prohibit employers from claiming a tax deduction for wages of $600 or more paid to undocumented workers, impose prison terms for human trafficking and limit the services commercial companies can provide to illegal immigrants.
Hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated at rallies in major U.S. cities in recent weeks demanding rights for illegal immigrants in the United States.
"It's a punitive bill," said Sara Gonzalez, president and chief executive of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "This is a very complicated issue, and I don't see any good coming out of this."
Outside the Georgia Capitol, a few demonstrators cheered when word spread that the immigration bill had been signed. The measure had garnered overwhelming support in both houses of Georgia's Republican-controlled Legislature.
"If you are not a U.S. citizen, you should not receive a U.S. benefit," said Steve Bray, a Georgia resident who was waving a U.S. flag and said he supports legal immigration.
04-18-06, 12:21 PM #2
Wherever he was at, I know Norm was smiling when he heard about this...
04-18-06, 08:09 PM #3
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