Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rep. Ramsey to Introduce “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011”

There is no country in the world more welcoming to immigrants than the United States of America. While we offer immigrants an opportunity to improve their employment, standard of living, and personal freedoms, perhaps the greatest opportunity we provide is a chance for immigrants to join the American melting pot of cultures and become American. Only in America does the stranger become, not simply a permanent resident, but one of us; every bit as American as the descendant of a Mayflower pilgrim.

With this great privilege, however, comes responsibility. The most basic responsibility, shared by us all, is to obey the law. The rule of law is the keystone that holds together our orderly society. Unfortunately, it is clear that we have experienced a complete breakdown of America’s immigration law.

Though long ignored by Washington, Georgia literally cannot afford to ignore the economic burden created by our unsecure borders. The economic downturn caused Georgia’s unemployment to rise to record highs and state revenues to plummet to new lows. We continue to see huge reductions to every segment of our state budget, meaning state services are stretched thinner than ever before. School classrooms are more crowded, our healthcare system is at its limits, transportation infrastructure is overburdened and our law enforcement community is working feverishly to do more work with fewer resources. It would be patently irresponsible not to address the issues posed by Georgia’s estimated 400,000- plus illegal aliens.

With this in mind and after a great deal of study, the members of the Special Committee on Immigration Reform are introducing the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011.” This legislation includes numerous common-sense reforms aimed at addressing the social and economic consequences in Georgia resulting from the federal government’s inability to secure our nation’s borders.

This legislation will require the use of the federal E-Verify system by private employers in this state. This is a common sense step towards ensuring that available job opportunities are afforded only to our legal residents and that employers stay within existing law.

The legislation will also protect citizens from an unlawful burden on taxpayer-funded services by requiring the use of only secure and verifiable identification documents for any official purpose, including the dispensation of public benefits. Further, it will provide greater incentives for law enforcement agencies to apply for participation in federal partnerships that provide for faster and more efficient identification and transfer of illegal aliens.

In addition, the bill provides important new tools for law enforcement officers and provides them greater latitude in handling immigration issues during a lawful stop or detention. The bill also creates criminal penalties for any individual that encourages an illegal alien to come to Georgia or that transports or harbors an illegal alien once they arrive. This is not an exercise in scapegoating. Our nation’s illegal immigration crisis ultimately represents a failure of government. The federal government’s failure to secure our borders serves as an open invitation for illegal immigration. The employers who encourage and reward illegal immigration are certainly not blameless. Make no mistake: those here illegally did not act alone. However, violation of the law cannot be simply ignored, particularly when the enormous costs of those violations weighs so heavily on Georgia taxpayers during these difficult economic times.


Anonymous said...

Matt, I first heard of you and this bill while listening to the Rob Johnson show on WGST Friday morning. As a citizen whose life is being affected directly by the burden of illegal aliens in Cobb County at multiple levels, I immediately found the text of your bill, read it, then watched the entire Judiciary hearing on the web. Yours is the first legislative action that has ever attracted my attention enough at the Georgia state level to follow the proceedings so carefully.

Although you're going to be assaulted by groups on both the Libertarian side (my party), and the progressives of various denominations, HB 87 is a good and necessary addition of tools for citizens and local officials to take away the incentive for local businesses to hire illegals.

Your reasoned answers at the hearing Friday morning, and the text of the bill itself, have inspired me to use all the resources of a private citizen (Facebook, my own blog, and contacting my own state representative) to support your efforts as they continue.

Good job so far, and good luck.

Ralph Rainwater
Marietta, GA

Steve F said...

I am interested to know how far you researched the economic impact of removing the labor force of much of South Georgia's farming economy and how you think it would be replaced. It is not simply a matter of removing one labor source and replacing with another. Many Americans have an attitude that they are above the types of jobs filled by illegal immigrants (and even those here legally on work visas) and won't take those jobs, even when they have no other choice. Further, what does the law enforcement system - already stressed as you note - do with the people taken into custody? What about the court system? I support the idea that the immigration system needs serious attention, however I do not believe in criminalizing it with a racial profiling bill as you have put forth. The problem is systemic and needs a holistic approach rather than a simple view of one part of the problem.

Talbotsgt said...

Great job yesterday! Your statement during the rally was dead on. We need those jobs back in Georgia and I wanted to say my family and I appreciate you holding to your guns while facing so many that oppose our views.

To the poster Steve F..
Those jobs and positions in the past were filled with kids fresh out of school and adults that need jobs. I have worked my fair share of landscaping and labor jobs in my younger years and have a few friends right now who would take ANY job right now to make ends meet. I truly believe that filling those positions will not be a problem once we have them back for legal Georgia citizens.

Keep up the good work Matt!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Sir,
There are so many illegal alien working in small bussiness, and bussiness owners know that there workers do not have immigration status, still they are giving employement to these illegal alien.
I believe, government should start sending warrning letters to each employers, explaining punishment for hiring illegal workers.
I believe this would immideatly bring so much of unemployement down to 7 or 8 %.

mary from Florida said...

I also agree with what your doing to get jobs back for American citizens.I have family in georgia and i live in Florida. my younger relatives in georgia are struggeling with finding employment. When you hear an estimated 400,000 illegals in the state of georgia, it is eye opening.I would love to see my nephew and nieces who are struggeling to find work get a job.I think your on the right track to making that happen. The entire country is dealing with this issue and i have hope when I see actions being taken to change our future and economy.Thank You for your efforts!!!

Ralph Rainwater said...

Steve F --

Sorry for not checking in recently and appearing to ignore your objection. That some Americans feel they're above the kind of work illegal aliens do now is not an argument for continuing to accept an invasion for the sake of cheap labor, but an indictment of Americans.

I spent my teenage years and early 20s in the San Joaquin Valley of California, where air-conditioned jobs were not available for unskilled labor. Picking fruit, processing vegetables, working on a chicken ranch -- all of those were tough jobs that serve me well 30 years later whenever I want to whine about an employer today.

Given the vast numbers of unskilled people collecting unemployment and SNAP today, with no real opportunity to become employed in an economy where only those with specialized skills are needed, I can't believe that turning down a job is an option if the alternative is having one's government benefits cut off.

Or, to be more blunt, nobody has a right to live off their neighbor's taxes if they have a chance to earn their own way. Any labor confers more dignity upon the recipient than living with one's hand out, expecting others to put food and cash in it.

As someone recently laid off, at fifty, if I cannot find employment in my past fields, then I will gladly harvest our fields again if my only other choice is homelessness.

Anonymous said...

Matt, My family and I support you and your Illegal Immigration Bill, 100%. I am a Catholic and naturalized citizen for forty years. I believe every country like ours have laws that need to be implemented. Illegal is a crime against the State, the Country, and it's Citizens as well as Legal Residents. Illegals need to go or be sent back and fall inline just like me. Become an American, Speak English, Work, Pay appropriate taxes, Contribute to the Social Security System, do volunteer work or charity work. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. LAST ELECTION WAS THE RESULT OF THE SILENT MAJORITY'S ACTION! MAY GOD BLESS US ALL. BEC

Anonymous said...

You've got my support Rep. Ramsey. I'm tired of my tax dollary being used to comfort and support law breakers.

Bobby D.