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Ramsey says federal ruling upholds Ga. immigration law

A ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court published last month validates a provision of Georgia’s new immigration law that allows police to check the immigration status of criminal suspects, according to Rep. Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City, one of the sponsors of the Georgia law that was approved last year.

The Georgia law imposes a requirement that businesses must swear they are using the E-Verify system to hire new employees.

Businesses must swear in an annual affidavit that they are using the federal government’s E-Verify system in order to qualify for a locally-issued business license or tax occupation certificate.

That means that each city and county in Georgia will be keeping track of those affidavits, and any business found to not be participating in E-Verify after submitting said affidavit can be prosecuted for perjury or false swearing, Ramsey has said previously.

The Supreme Court ruling came in an Arizona case, but it upheld that crucial position of Georgia’s statute, Ramsey said.

The court “confirmed that states can implement this common sense and important public safety measure,” Ramsey said. “Today’s ruling confirms our belief that not only was Georgia’s House Bill 87 an important step in protecting taxpayers from the social and economic consequences of illegal immigration, but the statute was also drafted to withstand constitutional scrutiny.”

The court, however, overturned several other parts of Arizona’s illegal immigration law including one that allowed police officers to arrest someone without a warrant if the officer had probable cause to believe that person committed an offense “that makes the person removable from the United States.”

The ruling also overturned laws that made it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek or engage in work and for failure to comply with federal alien registration requirements.

Prior to last year’s passage of H.B. 87, state law required police officers to check the immigration status of persons who were charged with felony offenses. The new law allows police to check the immigration status of anyone being investigated of a crime.

The bill also is aimed at withholding public tax “benefits” from being spent on illegal immigrants, including the following:

• Adult education;

• Business certificate, license or registration; also to include occupational and professional licenses;

• Health benefits;

• Medicaid;

• Housing allowance, grant, guarantee or loan;

• Disability assistance or insurance;

• Rent assistance or subsidy;

• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);

• State identification card; and

• State grant or loan.

By federal law, Georgia cannot deny access to K-12 schools and also emergency medical care to illegal immigrants, Ramsey has said previously.

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