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Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - 11:23am

Counties Enforce Immigration Law

Georgia cities and counties are preparing to comply with the state’s new immigration law. That will mean proving, among other things, they aren’t issuing contracts to companies that employ illegal immigrants. Some of the law’s provisions go into effect this weekend.

The law will require firms bidding for public contracts to submit affidavits that their employees are authorized to work here.

Starting in January, many companies will begin using the federal E-Verify database to vet employees’ immigration status.

Todd Edwards is with the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. He says his group’s members also have to handle that part of the law.

“Like many of the other laws passed at the General Assembly, that primarily falls on your cities and counties to enforce," he said in an interview. "That’s because the mechanism by which companies were to sign up for a business license or an alcohol license at the local level, we’re in charge of checking that they have indeed used E-Verify, and we have to report that as well.”

Beginning in 2012, Georgia cities and counties will have to verify that every company receiving a business license or permit isn’t employing illegal immigrants. The municipalities will produce a report at the end of each year that identifies new license recipients and provides proof that they comply with the law.

The requirements are part of Georgia’s new immigration law.

Edwards says municipalities have spent months preparing for the procedures. But he says the law is still raising some administrative concerns:

“With the large counties, the sheer amount of benefits, the licenses, the permits issued," he said. "And for the small counties that don’t have the professional staffs, to have this along with all the other requirements coming from the state added to their work.”

An immigration enforcement board will review citizen complaints about how local governments are enforcing the law.

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