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Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 9:56am

Lawmakers Stuck on Immigration

Lawmakers have just one day to sort out their differences over an illegal immigration reform measure. A major sticking point is whether to require employers to verify their new hires are here legally.

Currently, the provision would make companies with ten or more employees use the federal database called "E-Verify" to check the legal status of newly hired workers.

Earlier this week, the Senate removed the requirement entirely after much debate over its affect on small businesses and farmers.

But, the House restored it and now it’s back in the Senate’s hands. Senate Republican leadership says the provision will likely make it in the final version, but the question is who will have to comply.

Governor Deal says he leaves that judgment in the hands of lawmakers, but there is also the question of its constitutionality.

The Supreme Court of the United States has a case challenging whether E-verify can be mandated on the private employment community. Unfortunately, they have not given us guidance by deciding on this case at this time.

The bill’s sponsor says that eventual outcome shouldn’t block the bill’s passage because there’s a severability clause that makes other parts of the bill applicable if the E-verify requirement doesn’t hold up in court.

The bill would also let police check the citizenship status of people investigated for other crimes.

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