Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Libertarian Party of Georgia Says Immigration Bill Will Bankrupt Georgia

Last week, State Representative Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) introduced
the “Illegal Immigration Reform Enforcement Act of 2011,” or HB 87.
The Libertarian Party of Georgia opposes the bill, citing the huge
cost to enforce it even though the General Assembly is tasked with a
nearly $2 billion budget crisis. They also say that the bill could
have catastrophic effects on the economic well-being of the state, as
well as in the lives of its residents if passed.

As proposed, HB 87 would make criminals of many otherwise law abiding
Georgians trying to make a living. The bill makes it a criminal offense
by merely “encouraging” an illegal immigrant to enter the state. It
also allows almost any citizen to bring a lawsuit against any business,
local or State government agency or official by just accusing them of
violating immigration law. Further, HB 87 burdens every employer doing
business in Georgia with using the Department of Homeland Security’s
E-Verify system.

"As it is written, this bill will have a tremendous impact on the every day
lives of all Georgians and will cost the State quite a bit of money
defending it from the several lawsuits already planned," says
Libertarian Party of Georgia Legislative Director Jeff Sexton. "We are
calling on Representatives to truly get serious about immigration, and
enact genuine reform that respects the rights of all individuals."

One other aspect troubling the Libertarian Party of Georgia is the
provision within that allows law enforcement officers to indefinitely
detain anyone unable to provide their driver’s license or other "proof"
document. HB 87 allows for anyone forgetting their driver's license to
be jailed even after release would normally be required without
probable cause. It also re-introduces the secure and verifiable
document issue, something that has landed the state in the courts as a
defendant for the way Georgia tried to use it in election law...
another action that could cost the state significant legal bills to

“This bill is a reaction to a poor national immigration policy, and it acts
to treat a symptom, rather than cure the underlying illness. That
illness is the cost of the welfare state, and neither Democrats nor
Republicans are willing to address it,” explained Brett Bittner, the
Party’s Executive Director. “Instead, they’ve politicized the
immigration issue to the point that we can no longer have a discussion
about a solution that works for every Georgian.”

“Our main economic engines, agriculture, poultry, and manufacturing, will be
hit hardest by the proposed legislation,” Bittner says further. “They
will find themselves with an increased cost of labor and compliance, or
they will simply close up shop, because the arduous regulations are
simply too much.”

Currently, HB 87 has been placed in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee,
chaired by HB 87 co-sponsor Rep Rich Golick (R-Smyrna), where it is
scheduled to have a hearing this Friday, February 4, at 9:30am. Others
listed as co-sponsors include Katie Dempsey (R-Rome), Rick Austin
(R-Demorest), Stephen Allison(R-Blairsville), and Edward Lindsey

The Libertarian Party is Georgia’s third largest political party and the
only party in Georgia promoting fewer taxes, less government and
personal liberty for all Georgians. To learn more, please visit www.LPGeorgia.com

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