A group of Mexican senators want to meet with state legislators in states that have enacted strict laws targeting illegal immigration.
Sen. Carlos Jimenez Macias, a member of the Mexican Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, confirmed those plans to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution during a workshop on immigration reform Tuesday in Washington. The Mexican senators say they plan to meet with state lawmakers in Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina and Utah.
The newspaper reports that the senators plan to show state lawmakers information they say shows illegal immigrants tend to stay out of trouble and contribute to the economy.
Macias says the senators want to meet with Georgia state Rep. Matt Ramsey, who authored Georgia's law. Ramsey told the Journal-Constitution he hadn't received a request for a meeting.
Georgia's immigration crackdown, known as HB 87, became law on July 1. In a 45-page ruling, federal Judge Thomas Thrash blocked two provisions, including one that would have allowed the police to check the immigration status of some criminal suspects. He also blocked a provision that would have made it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants.
Other provisions, including one requiring businesses to check workers’ immigration status, went into effect.
The law has had an impact on at least two of Georgia's top industries, agriculture and hospitality.
Farmers say migrant workers started leaving the state after Gov. Nathan Deal signed the new law in May. That left them without enough labor to harvest spring crops. A University of Georgia survey found that Georgia fruit and vegetable farms had at least $70 million in crop losses. The total impact could be as high as $390 million, including what laborers would have spent for food, gas and other necessities in the farm communities.
Contributors: Jeanne Bonner