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Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 12:57pm

Changes Sought To Immigration Law

Politicians on both sides want to change some rules of the state’s immigration law. They say there aren’t enough state workers to check the citizenship of every Georgian needing a professional license.

Under the 2011 immigration law, nurses, accountants, hair dressers and people in hundreds of other professions must prove their citizenship every time they renew their licenses. That’s every two years.

The Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, says the law unintentionally converted a streamlined renewal process into a bureaucratic one.

The rule affects 500,000 Georgians in 200 professions.

“It’s taking us 8-10 days to process those renewals because we have to have someone that physically opens that document or takes it off the fax machine or opens a piece of mail and looks at that document and compares it to the renewal form and that just takes a lot of time,” he said.

Rep. Debbie Buckner, a Junction City Democrat, has filed a bill that would allow licensees to prove citizenship once.

"I think this is a total non-partisan issue of just helping the people we have out there who are Georgia citizens stay at work,” she said.

Kemp says he’s working with the GOP on another bill that would also allow licensees to prove citizenship once.