Georgia Legislators Ask U.S. Sens. Chambliss, Isakson to Vote “No” on Federal Immigration Bill
ATLANTA (June 11, 2013) –Georgia Legislators urge U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson to vote “no” on the proposed federal immigration bill currently being considered in the U.S. Senate. In a letter sent to Senators Chambliss and Isakson on Tuesday, Georgia State Senators, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Josh McKoon, outlined what they believe to be proactive solutions to U.S. immigration reform.
“While we undoubtedly need to address the complex issue of immigration reform, we must ensure we’re doing what’s right for all Americans, especially the people of Georgia,” said Sen. McKoon. “In its current form, the proposed immigration bill would likely come at a high cost to taxpayers, leave unresolved security issues along the border and grant amnesty to countless illegal immigrants. While we wholeheartedly support legal paths to immigration, it is important we are respectful to the countless immigrants who obtained their citizenship through legal channels.”
As part of the letter sent to Congress, Georgia Legislators highlighted several areas of concern as it relates to the long-term effects of federal immigration reform and its ability to:
- Maintain tight security along the borders at our ports and other national points of entry
- Provide a fair, equitable path to citizenship
- Ensure a cost effective solution that relives taxpayers and local governments from the astronomical costs associated with immigration
Immigration is not only an issue at the federal level, but has recently come up for debate in Georgia. During the 2011 Legislative Session, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 87. Through the passage of this bill, companies with more than 10 employees are required to use the free and quick E-Verify program to ensure prospective employees are legal U.S. Citizens.
It also allows law enforcement to check immigration status of suspects during the regular investigation of criminal acts.
HB 87 was revisited during the 2013 Legislative Session through the passage of SB 160. This bill clarifies and streamlines the verification process when applying for or renewing business licenses and public benefits.
The complete letter to Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson can be found in an attachment to this email.
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Sen. Josh McKoon serves as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He represents the 29th Senate District, which includes Harris and Meriwether counties and portions of Muscogee and Troup counties. He may be reached at 404.463.3931 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
__________Full Text of the Letter Appears Below__________
Dear Senators Chambliss and Isakson:
We the undersigned urge you to vote “no” on the proposed immigration bill currently being considered in the United States Senate.
While we recognize numerous flaws with the proposal pending before the U.S. Senate, there are a few we would care to comment on in detail:
First, the start of real conservative reform on immigration is very simple — that is to provide for tight security along our borders at our ports and other points of entry to our nation. The remedies offered in the proposed bill are pitiful and provide no assurance that our territorial integrity will be maintained. Amendments offered in the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide for such security were voted down. When we cannot control ingress and egress into and out of the United States we not only lose control over immigration policy but a vital portion of homeland defense as well.
Second, we oppose a path to citizenship for anyone who willingly and knowingly comes into our country illegally. Amnesty is contrary to the rule of law, fundamentally unfair to those who play by the rules and wait to immigrate legally, and will only encourage more illegal immigration. Amnesty was part of the 1986 federal effort to comprehensively address immigration at that time when we had fewer than an estimated 3 million illegal immigrants. Despite that blanket amnesty today we have over 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States and Georgia now ranks 6th in the nation in the number of illegal immigrants. In short another blanket amnesty will do nothing to address the long term root causes of this problem.
Third, we have seen no cost estimate on how great a financial burden this bill will place on the State of Georgia and local governments in terms of the increased burden on state and local services. Even Los Angeles County officials in California are expressing concern over additional burdens being placed on local services as a result of the new proposal. Additional burdens on public health care, our education system, and other state and local services will only aggravate already precarious budget issues in our state. The Medicaid liability alone created by instantly creating hundreds of thousands of new enrollees would be sufficient to bankrupt our state.
Immigration problems are in reality a series of very different, complex, and difficult issues. They deserve a thoughtful, reasoned dialogue that should include federal, state and local elected officials as well as other stakeholders if we are to develop a real immigration reform package. We also should be able to expect aggressive enforcement of existing immigration law. Passage of the proposal now pending would do nothing to address these systemic problems and would create an even greater unemployment problem by expanding vastly the labor pool at a time when our economy is beginning a very slow and sluggish recovery process.
In conclusion, we the undersigned respectfully ask that you vote against this proposed immigration bill as it is not in the best interest of the people of Georgia. We need to stand firm on border security and only then move on to addressing other related issues.
Georgia State Senator Josh McKoon
Georgia State Senator Judson Hill
Georgia State Senator John Albers
Georgia State Senator Buddy Carter
Georgia State Senator William Ligon
Georgia State Senator Mike Crane
Georgia State Senator Renee Unterman
Georgia State Senator Chuck Hufstetler
Georgia State Senator Barry Loudermilk
Georgia State Senator Lindsey Tippins