Today is legislative day number 25. Remember Crossover Day has moved to Day 28 of the session currently scheduled for Friday March 3, 2017. Usually on Day 30, this is the last day that one chamber can pass legislation to the other. Any bill that doesn’t receive a vote and pass to the opposite chamber by the end of this day will die on the vine however since we’re at the beginning of this session’s two-year cycle, unresolved bills can resume progress next year.

Please find this synopsis of immigration bills, their current status, and how you can make your voice known in the most impactful manner.

Good/Support

SB100 – As relating to state government, provides that no person possessing a valid visa to enter the United States shall be detained or rejected from entry into the United States at any airport or water port in this state. Creating a state counter to President Trump’s unconstitutional executive orders banning refugees and immigrants. Status: 2/1/17 – Senate Read and Referred to Senate Government Oversight Committee.
Action Needed: Contact the Senate Government Oversight Committee, your Senator, and Lt. Governor Cagle asking them to support this bill and move it forward thru committee to the Senate floor.

SB93 – Provides for the identification and contacting of legal immigrants to facilitate applications for naturalization. Status: 1/30/17 – Senate Read and Referred to Senate Government Oversight Committee. No committee hearing scheduled.
Action Needed: Contact the Senate Government Oversight Committee, your Senator, and Lt. Governor Cagle asking them to support this bill and move it forward thru committee to the Senate floor.

SR137 – Senate resolution recognizing March 7, 2017, as New Americans Day at the state capitol. Status: 2/2/17 – Senate read and adopted.
Action Needed: Contact your Senator and ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor of the resolution.

Bad/Oppose

HB12 – Creates an unnecessary tax on money transmission transactions completed by financial institutions and holds the fees generated until a tax return is filed. Intended to penalize immigrants under the assumption they do not pay taxes but in reality creates an unnecessary tax burden for both the state and the individual. Status: 11/28/16 Pre-filed; not read.
Action Needed: Contact House Speaker David Ralston and your Representative asking them to oppose and hold this bill without a reading. If you learn this bill is scheduled for a committee hearing please let us know.

HB33 – Changes current Georgia law requiring individuals appointed to authorities, boards, councils, and commissions be United States citizens or nationals, lawful permanent residents, or aliens having lawful status to be present in the United States and discriminating against the civic participation of other immigrants. Status: 1/12/17 – House Second Reader referred to House Judiciary Committee.
Action Needed: Contact House Speaker David Ralston, House Judiciary Committee Chair Wendell Willard and your Representative asking them to oppose and hold this bill without a committee hearing. If you learn this bill is scheduled for a committee hearing please let us know.

HB37 – Changes current Georgia law to penalize private postsecondary institutions who provide refuge to immigrants by establishing themselves as sanctuary campuses. Status: 2/23/17 – Crossed over from House to Senate. Senate read and referred to Senate Higher Education Committee.
Action Needed: Guidance forthcoming tomorrow and Wednesday.

HB324 – Brands driver’s licenses with “NONCITIZEN” in an attempt to discriminate against refugees and immigrants. Creates an additional unnecessary and burdensome task for an already overwhelmed Department of Drivers Services. Like SB121 below Georgia Budget and Policy Institute estimates it could take upwards of $1 million to implement the new driver’s cards; very expensive taxpayer-funded bigotry. Status: 2/21/17 – House Second Reader referred to House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. Was tabled (temporarily) in the committee meeting but the session is far from over.
Action Needed: Contact all members of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, House Speaker David Ralston and your Representative asking them to oppose and hold this bill without a committee hearing.

HB452 – creates a public registry of non-citizens/legal residents; ostensibly to facilitate their detention and deportation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation would be in charge of maintaining and publishing this list. Status: 2/22/17 – House Second Reader referred to House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
Action Needed: Contact all members of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, House Speaker David Ralston and your Representative asking them to oppose and hold this bill without a committee hearing.

SB161 – In an attempt to discriminate against refugees and immigrants creates a deviation from the standard driver’s licenses formats for noncitizens by orienting them vertically and not using the standard horizontal orientation used now for all cards. Also creates an additional unnecessary and burdensome task for an already overwhelmed Department of Drivers Services. Status: 2/14/17 Senate read and referred to Senate Public Safety Committee.
Action Needed: Contact all members of the Senate Public Safety Committee, your Senator, and Lt. Governor Cagle asking them to oppose and hold this bill without a committee hearing.

SB231 – This is large bill sponsored by Senator McKoon with many inhumane components to it and disturbingly reminiscent of the past. We attempt to unpack it here:

  • Unnecessarily denies the rights of lawyers to practice law in Georgia if they are not documented in an attempt to further reduce the immigrant community’s access to legal services.
  • Denies in state tuition in all state universities, colleges, and technical schools for Non citizens/legal residents, specifically including those with the federally accepted immigration status known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), further reducing their access to education. Also puts the burden of signing a sworn affidavit on both the student and the school.
  • Denies employment in all state academic institutions and public schools to Non citizens/legal residents, even if they are employed to teach a virtual course from out of state.
  • Denies the HOPE scholarship to Non citizens/legal residents including those with DACA status and anyone with a misdemeanor marijuana conviction.
  • Creates a public registry of Non citizens/legal residents including those with the DACA status.
  • Denies driver’s licenses to those with DACA status.
  • Requires the state to provide all personal information to any “governmental official, entity, or agency” with simply a “written request”. No subpoena or court involvement needed.
  • Denies property and other tax exemptions, along with requiring a signed affidavit, to Non citizens/legal residents.
  • Status: 2/21/17 Senate read and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.

Action Needed: Contact all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, your Senator, and Lt. Governor Cagle asking them to oppose and hold this bill without a committee hearing.

Finally – Don’t forget to register for the New American’s Celebration on March 7, 2017 at the Georgia State Capitol and order your CRSA t-shirt (100% of proceeds go to support the work of the CRSA).

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