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Monday, April 11, 2011 - 10:01am

House Restores Immigration Bill Provisions

The House has restored controversial provisions in its immigration bill that the Senate gutted Monday night.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Representative Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City, says the bill once again requires companies use a federal database to check the legal status of new hires.

"Primarily we have restored the E-Verify provisions that requires private employers to enroll and participate in the federal E-Verify program which is the best tool we have available to us to ensure those that hold jobs in Georgia are legally eligible to hold them under federal law," says Ramsey.

The citizenship check applies to businesses with 10 or more employees.

The House also re-inserted the provision that allows police officers check the status of people at traffic stops. The senate changed that to only those investigated for felonies.

The bill now heads back to the senate floor.

Supporters and opponents of the bill are stepping up their efforts in anticipation of the end of the legislative session on Thursday.

Earlier Monday, before the Senate vote, various groups protested the measures outside the state Capitol.

"Do we want to rest in peace, small businesses? No! Do we want the agriculture industry to rest in peace? No!"

Protesters delivered a petition of 23,000 signatures to the Governor and Lt. Governor, urging them to veto immigration reform legislation if it reaches their desks.

Some small business owners say the measures could hurt business. Civil rights organizations and churches say the measures are inhumane and will tarnish Georgia’s image.

Reverend Timothy McDonald is from the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta.

"At the end of the day, these proposed immigration laws are about discrimination, discrimination of those who according to our holy writ says to welcome the stranger."

Supporters of the bills say the measures are necessary to curb the costs of illegal immigration.


Associated Press