Sunday, March 20, 2011

Georgia Immigration-Themed Legislative Rundown (post Cross Over Day)

Now, a Summary:
Three alive bills
- The Senate and House versions of the Show Me Your Papers/ Arizona copycat bills, SB 40 and HB 87 cross to the opposite chamber for committee hearings.(SB 40 now in House Judiciary Non-Civil and HB 87 in Senate Judiciary)
- The SB 162 bill that makes a DUI a felony on first occurrence ONLY for an undocumented person, is in House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee (we believe this passed the Senate in a fluke and can be stalled out on the House side, but watch for alerts)

Bills that were stopped and cannot proceed as written*:
SB 7 - Hurt and Run - denial of workers comp to an undocumented worker
SB 27 - Mandatory E-VERIFY
SB 104 - Arizona copycat bill on steroids
SB 172 - Mandatory 287g for counties over 100k population
HB 59 - Destroy the Dream ban on college access even at out of state tuition rate
HB 72 - English Only for drivers license written test
*we do watch for attempts to amend other bills with language from these failed proposals

This Week:
The week began with the Senate vote on SB 40, the Senate Arizona copycat version that many considered less comprehensive than the House "Show Me Your Papers" HB 87. This bill is still considered by progressives to be totally unacceptable and unworkable & very bad for Georgia. Many followed the extended debate that saw bipartisan opposition, There were Senators who spoke against the bill and then voted for it, and other nuanced maneuvers.

The 34-21 passage included three Republicans voting No. Two of those three thought the bill unworkable but the other thought the bill not tough enough. One excused absence, non-voting Senator (Democrat) would have voted No. And two Democrats voted for. Since there were a couple of Republican Senators that expressed problems with the bill prior to the vote (mostly from districts that are heavily influenced by agricultural interests) progressives were disappointed that they didn't have the political courage to vote accordingly. In addition to the pressure on Republicans to support a Party priority, there was also a feeling that the Senate version had to be kept alive to be "competition" for the more onerous HB 87. Everyone expects that whatever emerges as a final version of a "Show Me Your Papers Bill" will be the result of a conference committee re-write once the two bills work their way through the opposite chamber processes. 

Due to the knowledge that some of the Republican Yes votes were weak, there was a motion to reconsider the vote. This motion would give Senators the opportunity to change their minds. It would have taken a switch of at least 6 Senators to have been successful. If this number could not be achieved, there would be no reason for a reconsideration vote to be taken. And that is what happened. So in sum, there WERE Senators willing to reconsider but not unless they were covered by at least 6 others. SB 40 moves to the House as passed Monday 3-14 by the original vote of 34-21. It was not "passed again" on 3-16, there simply was no vote on reconsideration, the 3-14 vote stands.

The infamous Crossover Day came with the intense drama of not only working to turn Senators on SB 40, but also working, waiting and preparing for potential House action on HB 59 "Destroy the Dream" and the tabled HB 72 English Only bill-which HB 72 English fell under a different procedure because it was a Tabled bill. It was not subject to the Supplemental Calendar process, it actually could have been called at any time in between other bills. The Speaker could entertain a Motion for Remove from the Table. He never recognized a member to make that motion, so this bill technically expired just as the other bills failing to pass by Crossover Day. 

Next Week:
The House and Senate are in session Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (start time is 1:00 pm Monday and 10:00 am Tuesday and Wednesday)
No Committee meetings have yet been scheduled for any immigration-related bills in either the House or Senate, but they could come up quick. Only a few committees have posted their hearings for next week. 

Alive Bills:
SB 162 Felony DUI for first violation ONLY if undocumented, has already been assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil
SB 40 Show Me Your Papers (Senate version), we are sure will also go to Judiciary Non-Civil, but the assignment is official Monday
HB 87 Show Me Your Papers (House version) is already in Senate Judiciary, but not yet scheduled for hearing

The bills all go through the same procedure in the opposite chamber as they went through already.

Both Chambers:
1- Committee hearing or hearings. (Possible sub-committee assignment before full committee hearing, but not really likely for 40 or 87 but SB 162 may be buried in a sub-committee)
2- If passed by Committee, it will go to Rules
3- Rules decides if or when bill gets a floor vote

from Chamber to Chamber:
4- (a) If House votes yes to SB 40 in committee and the floor, it will go back to the Senate for a vote to approve the House passed version of that Senate bill.
(b) If the Senate votes yes to HB 87 in committee and the floor, it will go back to the House for a vote to approve the Senate version of that House bill.

5. If either chamber approves immediately the bills sent back to them from the opposite chamber, then the bill passes and goes to the Governor. Whichever bill is acted upon first becomes it.

6. if the rival chambers will NOT wholesale agree to the versions of the bill sent back to them from the other side.

7. This "disagree" posture will trigger what they call Conference Committee. Three members of the Senate are chosen to meet with three chosen members from the House.

8. The Conference Committee meets to take both bills and try to agree on a re-write that potentially includes portions of both bills. They have total latitude in this re-write process, 

9. Once the Conference Committee comes to agreement, their re-write goes to both the House and Senate for a vote to agree or disagree.

there are only 10 working days to do this. The 10 days will stretch into at least the second week of April. Although we do know they plan to be in recess April 4-8, the other days past the 28th are not yet announced.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Monday, March, 7th - 
Candlelight vigil for the beginning of the end of the HOPE scholarship
Georgia Capitol steps, 6 pm -12 am

On Monday, March 7th, students, workers, and community members will gather at the Georgia State Capitol for a candlelight vigil commemorating the death of the HOPE scholarship. On Friday morning, the Senate Higher Education committee approved House Bill 326, which will DRASTICALLY cut the HOPE scholarship. Under H.B. 326, the only people receiving full HOPE aid will be those who graduated from high school with a 3.7, got a 1200 on their SAT, and are able to maintain a 3.3 through college. This also applies to students currently in college!

Bear in mind that the ones who will be hardest hit by these cuts are people of color and low income students. Georgia politicians, intentional or not, are actively re-segregating our schools, as the end result will be a tendency that favors those who are able to afford a tutor, those with a stable household, and those who are able to study instead of work. This is in line with HB 59, which will bar undocumented students from being able to attend the university system of Georgia. The result of these bills will be an educational system in Georgia that favors the rich.

Georgia politicians are PURPOSELY trying to pass this bill in less than a week after it was introduced so that students and workers don’t have time to mobilize and fight back! For the past week, we have been at the capitol protesting daily and letting our voices be heard. But guess what? We're not stopping! This is just the beginning, because we know that if we don't stand together and fight now, things will only get worse.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011



The House will  be voting on the anti-immigrant Arizona Copycat bill, HB 87 TOMORROW, March 3rd in the morning.  We are calling for a RALLY at 2:00pm (the time changed due to the schedule of the vote).  We do not know yet the outcome (but predictions are looking bad), so we must be prepared.  So if it loses, then we celebrate but if it passes, then we MUST be out there to SHAME the legislators who voted on it, and to immediately begin to pressure the Senate to oppose its version and the Governor to commit to VETO it.  Democratic legislators, including Leader Stacey Abrams, will be joining us. 


WHAT:  Rally for Immigrant Rights and Against HB 87!  Urge the Governor to Commit to Veto the Bill, Urge the Senate to Vote DOWN its version.

WHERE:  Front steps of the capitol, Washington side.

WHEN: 2pm!!! 

WHY:   To show the media and the public that we will not be silent as immigrants are attacked and scapegoated.  To urge the Governor to Commit to Veto the Bill, and Urge the Senate to Vote DOWN its version.  If is approved tomorrow, the fight still goes on.  This is not a done deal BUT we must be out there to show them we are serious and will not be silent!

For questions call Lisa at 404.567.9451 or email


Action Needed NOW on HB 87! Up For Floor Vote TOMORROW!!!

HB 87, “show me your papers” bill will be up for a vote on the House floor tomorrow! please refer to the ACLU of Georgia fact sheet,, to learn more about how this bill would hurt our state and our communities and why we need to oppose it forcefully!


Please take a minute TODAY and tomorrow morning to call your house rep. to ask them to vote NO on this racial profiling, anti-immigrant bill (you can refer to the talking points in the fact sheet). 
Find out who represents you in the GA House here:

Please also take a moment to call the Speaker of the House and a few key Republicans:
Speaker of the House David Ralston: (404) 656-5020
Rep. Amy Carter 404.651.7737
Rep. Doug Collins 404.651.7737
Rep. Christian Coomer 404.656.0109
Rep. Sharon Cooper 404.656.5069
Rep. Penny Houston 404.463.2247
Rep. Mike Jacobs 404.656.0152
Rep. Doug McKillip 404.656.0177
Rep. Rusty Kidd 404.656.0202
Rep. B.J. Pak 404.656.0254

Please circulate this alert far and wide!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Open Letter to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston on HB 87 by Atty Charles Kuck

Leading Immigration Attorney, Charles Kuck gives his analysis of Georgia’s Arizona’s SB 1070 copycat bill, HB 87:

ACTION Needed on Key Republicans....No on HB 87! Yes to Immigrant Rights!

Thank you to all who responded to the previous action to call the Governor, Lt Governor and House Speaker.  Please continue to pass that action along.  We now need to add calls and emails  to key Republicans who are potentially on the fence.
Remember, the vote on HB 87 and HB 59 is ANY DAY NOW.

Please take 5 minutes to make calls, send emails and spread this action!

What Happens in Arizona, Must Stop in Arizona!

Please take 5 minutes TODAY for immigrant justice and human dignity...and forward this email!
Background:  The GA legislature has introduced several pieces of anti-immigrant legislation, including Arizona copy cat bills, HB 87 and SB 40.  Just this morning, the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee passed HB 87 out of committee, which means a vote on the House Floor is imminent.  HB 59—which would deny public higher education to undocumented students—is also going to the House floor soon for a vote.  We need as many people to make calls, calls, and more calls, as well as emails, emails, and more emails, to ask our elected leaders to put an end to this scapegoating and immigrant bashing.

Call/Email Republicans who might be on the fence.  We cannot assume how they will vote.  Let’s put some pressure on!

“I urge you to vote “No” Vote on the Arizona Copycat, HB 87, and all other anti-immigrant legislation, including HB 59.  These bills are making Georgia look bad in the eyes of the country and the world.  Any legislation that pushes immigrant workers out of Georgia, or denies educational opportunity, will harm our state economically and morally.  As a Georgia resident, I urge you to oppose these bills.”

Rep. Amos Anderson 404.657.8534
Rep. Paul Battles
Rep. Tommy Benton 404.656.0177
Rep. Buzz Brockway 404.656.0188
Rep. Amy Carter 404.651.7737
Rep. David Casas 404.656.0254
Rep. Doug Collins 404.651.7737
Rep. Christian Coomer 404.656.0109
Rep. Sharon Cooper 404.656.5069
Rep. Harry Geisinger 404.656.0254
Rep. Gerald Greene 404.656.0202
Rep. Rob Hanner 404.656.7859
Rep. Doug Holt 404.656.0152
Rep. Penny Houston 404.463.2247
Rep. Mike Jacobs 404.656.0152
Rep. Rusty Kidd 404.656.0202
Majority Whip Edward Lindsey 404.656.5024
Rep. Judy Manning 404.656.7868
Rep. Howard Maxwell 404.656.5143
Rep. Doug McKillip 404.656.0177
Rep. B.J. Pak 404.656.0254
Rep. Ann Purcell 404.656.5139
Rep. Lynne Riley 404.656.0188
Rep. Ron Stephens 404.656.5115
Rep. Wendell Willard 404.656.5125

And don’t forget to call your Representative if you haven’t yet….

You can find your Representative at:

Monday, February 28, 2011

And They Just KEEP-A-COMIN': Another Anti-Immigrant Bill to be Introduced TOMORROW

This bill is to drop tomorrow; no further info. is currently available. 

Please note that there is already a plan in place to have all counties in GA to enter into S-Comm as soon as the feds can manage such.

As for 287(g), the feds have to be on board for it to happen, regardless of whatever sanctions the GA legislature is to  devise to force localities to enter into it.

By Senators Bethel of the 54th, Murphy of the 27th, Balfour of the 9th, Hill of the 32nd, McKoon of the 29th and others:

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 4 of Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to jails, so as to require all jails to participate in the federal Department of Homeland Security's Secure Communities initiative; to require certain jurisdictions to enter into memorandums of agreement with the federal government under Section 287(g) of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act; to provide sanctions for failure to do so; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Action Alert on HB 87!!!! What Happens in AZ, Must Stop in AZ!

What Happens in Arizona, Must Stop in Arizona!
Please take 5 minutes TODAY for immigrant justice and human dignity.

Background:  The GA legislature has introduced several pieces of anti-immigrant legislation, including Arizona copy cat bills, HB 87 and SB 40.  Just this morning, the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee passed HB 87 out of committee, which means a vote on the House Floor is imminent.  HB 59—which would deny public higher education to undocumented students—is also going to the House floor soon for a vote.  We need as many people to make calls, calls, and more calls, as well as emails, emails, and more emails, to ask our elected leaders to put an end to this scapegoating and immigrant bashing.

Please take 5 minutes to call and email the people below and urge them to do the right thing.  Our goal today and tomorrow is to get 1,000 calls and emails in.  Can you help us reach this goal?

Thank you for taking action…and stay tuned for more actions to come!

Contact the Governor, Lt Governor and House Speaker.  They all hold a lot of influence in stopping these bills.

Governor Nathan Deal
(404) 656-1776

 “I urge you to use your leadership as Governor of Georgia to secure a “No” Vote on the Arizona Copycat bills, HB 87, SB 40 and all other anti-immigrant legislation, including HB 59. These bills are making Georgia look bad in the eyes of the country and the world.  Any legislation that leads to racial profiling or pushes immigrant workers out of Georgia, will harm our state economically and morally.  What happens in Arizona must stop in Arizona.  As a Georgia resident, I urge you to stop these anti-immigrant bills and to commit to veto any such legislation that reaches your desk.  Can we count on your commitment to do so?”

House Speaker David Ralston
(404) 656-5020
Email his Chief of Staff, Spiro Amburn:

“I urge you to use your leadership as House Speaker to secure a “No” Vote on the Arizona Copycat, HB 87, and all other anti-immigrant legislation.  These bills are making Georgia look bad in the eyes of the country and the world.  Any legislation that leads to racial profiling or pushes immigrant workers out of Georgia, will harm our state economically and morally.  What starts in Arizona must stop in Arizona.  As a Georgia resident, I urge you to stop these anti-immigrant bills.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle
(404) 656-5030

 “I urge you to use your leadership as Lieutenant Governor of Georgia to secure a “No” Vote on the Arizona Copycat bill, SB 40 and all other anti-immigrant legislation. These bills are making Georgia look bad in the eyes of the country and the world.  Any legislation that leads to racial profiling or pushes immigrant workers out of Georgia, will harm our state economically and morally.  What starts in Arizona must stop in Arizona.  As a Georgia resident, I urge you to stop these anti-immigrant bills. ”

Planning Meeting Called! We Are Taking It To The Streets!!! Come Find Out How You Can Help in the Rally for Truth!!!


Given what happened at the legislature today, we know that NOW IS THE TIME to turn up the heat on the legislators.  We need to show our elected officials that the people of Georgia OPPOSE bigotry and racism.  I mean thousands of us, in front of the legislature, in the streets, demanding an END to these bills!

Below are more detailed notes from last week's meeting to plan the
RALLY FOR TRUTH; Marching for dignity -- a mass gathering to stop the Arizona Copycat legislation

The next meeting to plan for the event is this:
Wednesday, March 2nd at 7:00 at the offices of Amnesty International, 730 Peachtree St NE
Please attend! Pass the word!  This is an open meeting & we need all hands on deck! 

Across the country, people are remembering that our power is in our numbers and that taking to the streets (or taking over the capitol) is sometimes necessary to demonstrate to our electeds that they have taken it too far.  We wont tolerate scapegoating, and demand that they stop wasting their time on fear and hate-mongering and instead do their job and propose some real solutions to the problems (jobs!  schools!  transportation!) that everyday Georgians are facing.  Come and join with us to make it happen.

Transcript of Final Hearing of HB 87

9:44 am @boribella: There are a goodly number of HB 87 folks here and very few pro HB 87 supporters. #hb87hearing #sb1070cpyct #GAlegislation

9:45 am @boribella: Ramsey opening hearing w discussion of E-verify #hb87hearing #sb1070cpyct #GAlegislation

9:48 am @boribella: Discussion is on what bill authors have done to avoid court challenges #hb87hearing #sb1070cpyct #GAlegislation

9:55 am @boribella: bill authors removed "reasonable suspition" piece and replaced it w a list of documents they want ppl to carry #hb87hearing #sb1070cpyct...

9:59 am @boribella: Ramsey just finished his explanation of changes.   And glosses right over the new acriminal provisions designed (cont)

10:00 am @boribella: Now Abrahams is now asking about section 11.  #HB87hearing #sb1070cpyct #GAlegislature

10:01 am @boribella: Ramsey is claiming now profiling not needed as the new section 11 requires that you have specific papers &  if u don't  u will be invstgtd.

10:02 am @boribella: Ramsey now saying that everify is the protection for employers. #hb87hearing #sb1070cpyct #GAlegislature

10:03 am @boribella: Abdulsalam is asking about unintentional consequences. Eg the nil on human traffickers.  #hb87hearing #sb1070cpyct #GAlegislature

10:04 am @boribella: Ramsey now claiming that harboring shall not b provisig srvcs to cictims of crime but not specific enuff 2 protect shelters who is a victim?

10:07 am @boribella: Oak is now asking about the transporting profound.  Behold committin another ofence.  Churches aren't protected (cont)

10:09 am @boribella: No other questions?  Abrams gets 1 more question. The furthering illegal preend includes everything!  #hb87hearing #sb1070cypct...

10:11 am @boribella: Now the vote! Therefore also a leg council memo we do not have on this bill written last night! #hb87hearing #GAlegislature

10:12 am @boribella: The bill passes by voice vote all repubs voting for it. #hb87hearing #sb1070cpyct #GAlegislature

10:18 am @boribella: Another sad SAD day in #GAlegislature history #hb87hearing #sb1070cpyct estoy pasmaaa. en shock PROFUNDO

10:28 am @boribella: (recap) Rep. Abrams put forth a motion to table, which did not have enough votes to pass. The bill moves on to the House floor. #HB87hearing

10:32 am @boribella: (recap)The House committee just voted YES on #HB 87.  It will now go to the Rules Committee and to the floor for a full vote. #HB87hearing

Couldnt make the hearing but want to help DEFEAT Georgia's Arizona copycat law?    Make 5 phone calls RIGHT NOW

Couldnt make the hearing but want to help DEFEAT Georgia's Arizona copycat law?   
Make 5 phone calls RIGHT NOW and let legislators know that WHAT HAPPENS IN ARIZONA MUST STOP IN ARIZONA!

These folks are our FRIENDS, so this call is about supporting them and bolstering them to NOT let the vote go down today without a fight!  Our champions need as much attention as our opponents.  Your call can be short and sweet:

Hi, my name is _____ and I am aware that HB 87 is up for a vote today in you committee.  I am calling to thank you for your opposition to this bill thus far and I am asking that you please continue your vocal opposition to this unconstitutional and discriminatory bill at today's hearing.  We worry that the Chair will aim to push for a quick vote, and hope that, instead, you can ask the necessary tough questions and raise concerns so that other Representatives, the public, and the media can see that this bill will not breeze through uncontested and that Georgia legislators do stand with the many people across the state who oppose this type of legislation.  Please, this issue is worth fighting about.  We thank you!

Yasmin Neal, D 404.656.0265
Roberta Abdul-Salaam D 404.656.0325
Stacey Abrams D 404.656.5058
Stephanie Stuckey Benfield D 404.656.7859
Nikki Randall D 404.656.0109

These 2 representatives are not committed to opposing the bill, so the call would be more of a general "we urge you to oppose this bill that will hurt Georgia's economy and embarrass us in the eyes of the world" message.  See Azadeh's previous msg if you need precise talking points.

B.J. Pak, R 404.656.0254
Sharon Cooper, R 404.656.5069

CALL NOW!!!  Let's get them going into the committee saying "wow, I just got 20 calls - I think we really need to fight this!"

Xochitl Bervera
Organizer, Trainer, and Media Strategist
Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.  Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.  

Differences in new & old versions of HB 87 as delineated by ACLU of GA

line-by-line comparison between the old and the new versions and they are substantially similar; the only discernible changes are:


1.      Creation of the state crime of aggravated identify fraud when a person “willfully and fraudulently uses any counterfeit or fictitious identifying information concerning a real, fictitious, or deceased person with intent to use such counterfeit or fictitious identifying information for the purpose of obtaining employment.”
2.      In the section re authority of the police to investigate immigration status, the bill no longer talks about reasonable suspicion that a person is undocumented; rather says that if the person does not produce any of a select set of documents, then the officer can go ahead and investigate.
3.      In re. lawsuits against officials or agencies, allows for a 30 day grace period after the filing of a claim with the official, agency during which the officer or agency at issue can take corrective action and avoid a lawsuit. 
4.      Also authorizes the Attorney General to bring actions against political subdivisions of the state to ensure enforcement of this bill.

So, agree with Chuck that this is even a worse bill than what we were presented with originally.  Let’s gear up for the fight to KILL this bill!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Leading Atlanta Immigration Attorney, Charles Kuck on HB 87

Reprinted with the express written permission of Atty Kuck:

My first review of the revised HB 87 reveals, shockingly , that nothing really changed, and it fact, in some respects, it is worse than before.  Frankly, HB 87 still stinks like yesterday’s trash.  It still causes amazing hardship to private employers through it’s unrealistic E-Verify requirements, still violates several provisions of the US Constitution, including the Equal Protection Clause, still creates a problem for folks offering assistance to domestic violence victims, actually does not exempt lawyers from giving advise to undocumented immigrants on their immigration status, punishes U.S. citizen spouses who know their spouse is undocumented, subverts voter intent, still creates a lawsuit bonanza for lawyers against city and county governments, and, frankly, does not do anything to curb undocumented immigration or enforce the laws on illegal immigration to the United States.

Charles H. Kuck Managing Partner Kuck Immigration Partners LLC--The Immigration Law Firm

HB 87 full text

Saturday, February 26, 2011

[HumanRightsAtlanta] Monday! HB 87 "Show Me Your Papers" bill hearing


There will be a (last) hearing of HB 87 Monday in Rm. 132 of the Capitol, 9:30 till noon; per what the Chairman had indicated before, this will be the last hearing at which a vote will be taken and most likely no testimony will be allowed; please note that we still don't have the finalized version of HB 87; it is expected to be handed out at the hearing.

Please try to come if you can; we'll be there with the "What Happens in Arizona, STOPS in Arizona" stickers. Also, if you haven't already written the House Judy Non-Civil Committee members, please do so this weekend and Monday a.m.; and also call Monday a.m.

Watch for an alert with the members' contact info. and talking points for your reference tomorrow.

Together, we can KILL this bill!!!

Dear all,

The time to act is now!

House Bill 87 “show me your papers” legislation will be up for a vote at the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, this coming Monday, 9:30 a.m., Rm. 132 of the Capitol.

Below, you can find a summary of what the bill would do; suggested talking points; as well as contact info. for members of the House Judiciary Non-Civil committee. Please write to them NOW! And call first thing Monday a.m.

Thank you for all you do to ensure the defeat of this racial profiling bill.

Hope to see you Monday!


HB 87 would, among other things:
·         require the police to investigate individuals’ immigration status in the course of an offense, including traffic stops, where there is “reasonable suspicion” to believe that they may be undocumented;
·         give police the power to make warrantless arrests;
·         create criminal penalties for any individual that while in violation of another criminal offense encourages an undocumented person to come to Georgia or transports or harbors them once they arrive;
·         provide additional incentives for localities to enter into 287(g) or “Secure Communities”;
·         allow any “legal resident” to bring a lawsuit against any Georgia official or agency to force them to enforce provisions of the bill; and,
·         require private employers to use the flawed E-Verify database and establishes civil sanctions in case of non-compliance.

 Below, are suggested talking points for when you call/write to the reps:
·         HB 87 is unconstitutional and violates core American values of fairness and equality.
·         HB 87 significantly resembles Arizona’s notorious SB 1070, and if passed, will subject the state to exorbitant litigation costs.
·         HB 87 orders law enforcement officers throughout Georgia to use racial profiling as a tool.  This would destroy trust and divert law enforcement resources away from community policing.
·         HB 87 will hurt state and local economies and lead to a tremendous loss in tourism revenues.  In talking about costs, you can make use of these resources:
o   Immigration Policy Center fact sheet on economic contributions of immigrants to GA:
o   Immigration Policy Center checklist for estimating the cost of Arizona-type legislation:
o   Center for American Progress report on cost of cancelled conferences and conventions in Arizona:

·         E-Verify databases are loaded with errors.  Businesses that use e-Verify report that 10 -15% of eligible workers are deemed ineligible by e-Verify, and the errors disproportionately affect lawful residents and naturalized citizens.

 Georgia House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee


Email Address
Phone Number

Rich Golick (Chairman)
218 Capitol

Mark Hatfield (Vice-Chairman)
404 CLOB

Charlice Byrd (Secretary)
608 CLOB

Roberta Abdul-Salaam
612 CLOB

Stacey Abrams
408 CLOB

Alex Atwood
401 CLOB

Stephanie Stuckey Benfield
512 CLOB

Doug Collins
109 Capitol

Christian Coomer
404 CLOB

Sharon Cooper
436 Capitol

Bobby Franklin
401 CLOB

Yasmin Neal
604 CLOB

B.J. Pak
601 CLOB

Matt Ramsey
401 Capitol

Nikki Randall
404 CLOB

Ed Setzler
501 CLOB

Azadeh N. Shahshahani
National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project Director
American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia
1900 The Exchange SE, Suite 425
Atlanta, GA 30339


Friday, February 25, 2011

Reproductive Justice Film Screening: "La Operacion" & Discussion

Reproductive Justice Film Screening (“La Operacion”) and Discussion
“From Sterilization Abuse to Birthright Citizenship: Latinas and the struggle for realizing reproductive justice”
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW
2048 Hosea L. Williams Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30317

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Testimony on HB 59 by Chancellor Erroll Davis, Jr.-Univ. System of GA

Testimony on House Bill 59 by Chancellor Erroll Davis Jr. University System Of Georgia
– Testimony on House Bill 59 –
Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr.
University System of Georgia
to the House Higher Education Committee
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Mr. Chairman:
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the House Higher Education Committee. You and the other members of the General Assembly have a long history of supporting public higher education, and the University System and its institutions would not have the national reputation they enjoy today absent the efforts of you and your predecessors.
You would, of course, have to be living in a time capsule not to be aware of the public debate over illegal immigration. We are all frustrated by the federal government’s failure to deal with this issue. I wish I could tell you that I had the answers to this problem.
I am not here today, however, to engage in the broader debate about illegal immigration. Rather, I am here today with a much narrower purpose: to report on what steps the Board of Regents has taken in this area, and to discuss some potential implications of House Bill 59 on the University System, often described by others as the crown jewel of the state’s assets.
It is important to note that the Board of Regents has taken no formal position on HB59.
We appreciate Representative Rice’s openness with us about what he is trying to accomplish in this bill. We have worked cooperatively with Representative Rice in the past, most recently last session on the issue of intellectual diversity, and we deeply respect his commitment to education and public service.
The University System of Georgia is, at its heart, an educational agency in the business of preparing individuals for the future by increasing their knowledge and skills; we are not in the immigration business, nor are we presently structured to serve as immigration authorities. Our mission is to educate individuals – in a manner consistent with the law – that increases the numbers of people earning undergraduate or graduate degrees. This mission serves
Georgia, the nation, and even the wider global economy by creating the workforce needed for sound and robust economic growth and job creation.
First, just to clarify the current situation, our capacity is not being stressed by thousands of illegal students. Out of 311,000 students in our 35 colleges and universities last fall semester, we found 501 undocumented students, or less than two-tenths of one percent. These 501 students all pay out-of-state tuition, which more than fully covers the cost of their education.
Let me explain the difference between “illegal” and “undocumented.” It should not be assumed that “undocumented” equals “illegal.”
Undocumented students are those who have not provided to us the appropriate documents so that they can be classified for in-state tuition. The number of undocumented students will fluctuate, as individual cases are resolved.
Let me give you a few examples of an undocumented student:
• Military students whose parents are now using another state as their home of record;
• The child of a parent who is working in a border state and is not paying Georgia taxes;
• The student who has entered this country in legal status and has applied for permanent residency, but due to the delay in processing, is in a limbo status until the application is approved; and
• The student who fails to answer questions on the application and/or has refused to provide documentationwhen asked. This happens most frequently with US citizens seeking in-state tuition rates.
The 501 undocumented students enrolled in our System also do not take the place of academically qualified Georgians. Only 29 of the 501 were enrolled at the five USG institutions that limit undergraduate enrollment. As I will note later, the Board of Regents passed a policy in October that now prevents undocumented students from being admitted to these five institutions: UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Georgia Health Sciences University, and Georgia College and State University.
Therefore, we want the committee to be aware that the issue of undocumented students taking seats from taxpaying Georgians has already been addressed administratively by the Board of Regents.
Let me also respond in a little more detail to those who have expressed concern that  undocumented students are preventing Georgians from taking some classes. We have thousands of students throughout the System that will experience during the course of their college attendance the inability to take a particular class at a desired time at a desired place. This phenomenon is hardly driven by undocumented students. The much greater driver is the lack of
resources to meet exploding enrollment.
Second, the Board of Regents has heard the concerns over improper student classifications that have been expressed and has already taken steps to address them. The Board took four policy actions in October.
• One, students must now sign a statement on the college application that, if they make false statements, they are subject to immediate dismissal from the institution and to prosecution for false swearing, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
• Two, students must now declare on their application whether they are applying for in-state tuition.
• Three, USG institutions must verify the lawful presence in the United States of every single student who applies for in-state tuition. Some institutions use the SAVE system; other institutions use other systems.
• And four, as I said earlier, the Board has closed off five institutions to undocumented students all together.
Given the above, we believe that we have already taken the necessary actions to ensure that Georgia taxpayers are protected and, further, that the children of taxpaying Georgians are not displaced by undocumented students.
Finally, I would be remiss as Chancellor if I did not suggest that this discussion should also be cast in the wider context of the world of higher education. Higher education is a very competitive, reputation-driven industry. Just like our farmers and businesses are competing with those in other states and beyond, our colleges and universities are competing for the best faculty and student talent. The University System of Georgia is one of the more highly regarded systems in the nation. Georgia is one of only three states in the US with two or more top-twenty public universities. People now want to come here. The last president we hired came to us from the state of Washington.
To put the actions proposed in the legislation into an appropriate context, the committee should also be aware that forty-nine states permit undocumented students to attend their public colleges, most at out-of-state tuition rates. Ten states knowingly permit undocumented students to attend at in-state tuition rates. Only one state in the nation entirely prevents undocumented students from attending its public colleges and universities – and that state is not Arizona. Even Arizona, with the toughest state statute in the country on illegal immigration, permits undocumented students to attend its colleges and universities, at the out-of-state tuition rate.
In summary: the Board of Regents made a review of student classification for residency and tuition a priority last year. This review found a small number of undocumented students – all classified correctly for tuition purposes – and resulted in Board actions, outlined earlier, that administratively address any concerns raised. We would hope that any decision on HB59 would consider actions already taken as well as the reputational risk to the University System and the state.
Mr. Chairman, we appreciate the opportunity to share our concerns with you and the committee. And, I would, of course, be happy to take any questions that you may have.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SB 104 Dropping Tomorrow


By Senators Mullis of the 53rd, Murphy of the 27th, Heath of the 31st, Gooch of the 51st, Loudermilk of the 52nd and others:
A BILL to be entitled an Act to provide for legislative findings; to amend Chapter 36 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to verification of lawful presence within the United States, so as to provide legislative findings and intent; to provide definitions; to prohibit policies by local governments that limit or restrict the enforcement of immigration laws; to provide for enforcement of immigration laws; to provide for the transmission and exchange of information regarding immigration status of individuals; to provide for penalties and sanctions; to provide that it shall be illegal to be present in this state if a person is not legally in the United States; to prohibit smuggling of human beings; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. 

Text of the bill unavailable as of yet

Live Tweet Transcript of HB 59 Hearing 2/15/11

3:14pm  In hearing on #hb59 #GAanti-Dreambill
3:15pm Chairman Rice opens by saying immigrants are "welcome" to higher education #hb59
3:16pm Chairman Rice says he's personally committed to the educational advancement if immigrants who are                here legally #hb59
3:17pm  Mentions Jessica Colottl as an impetus to the writing of this bill#hb59
3:19pm  #hb2 did not address higher education
3:20pm  Chairman says all #hb59 does is adds to the list of "public benefits"
3:22pm  #Chip Rodgers just walked in
3:23pm  Rice says undocumented students would be taking the "spot" of anyone here legally
3:24pm  Ashe asks how long it would take for info from SAVE to upload once a student enters his/her status   info
3:24pm  He responds "seconds" #hb59
3:25pm  Rice has DA KING to speak on the behalf of #hb59
3:26pm  The other bill crafted says that the intent of the bill is simply fairness.
3:27pm  Says SAVE database would ensure that only those who qualify would benefit from these public benefits (Rodgers) #hb59
3:28pm  Balfour now speaking using the term "illegal" quite blatantly
3:29pm  Talking abt a soldier who got home from Ft. Benning who couldn't take advantage of his acceptance to Gainesville College bc an "illegal" took his place #hb59
3:31pm  Balfour saying that #hb59 necessary bc the bd of Regents didn't go far enough in restricting admission to "illegals" to GA's top 5 univ.
3:31pm  DA King standing behind us
3:33pm  Balfour asked who is qualified to review a student's residency status at any university
3:33pm  Balfour says, "that question is so simple I’ma let my assistant answer it." walks off
3:34pm  The question is abt the costs the affidavits the SAVE syst would incur
3:35pm  Rep Long says state can't pay for these affidavits
3:36pm  Students would be accepted & enrolled until found to be undocumented. Then they'd be dumped! #hb59
3:37pm  Rep. Long asks if schools would have to staff up to undertake the systematic overhaul the SAVE syst would cause. #hb59
3:37pm  Another lawmaker asks if TEG dollars, which go to private schools, could be marked "only for legals" #hb59
3:38pm  Answer is "no" #hb59
3:40pm  Chairman says the committee will take some kind of action today on this bill #hb59
3:41pm  Chancellor of Univ of Ga system talking now. Using term "illegal". Black man. Smh #hb59
3:42pm  Says bd of Regents has taken no position on #hb59 & they're not in the immigration business nor are they structured to be such
3:42pm  Says their capacity is NOT being stressed by an overcapacity of undocumented students
3:43pm  Says they only found 501 undocumented students & they ALL are paying out-of-St tuition which more than pays for their education
3:44pm  Making distinction btwn undocumented & illegal students. #hb59
3:45pm  Not liking the way he's drawing that distinction. No need for it. Now we're going to make a hierarchy of statuses that are not "permanent"?
3:47pm  Detailing now the steps the bd of Rgnts took in October to address the matter of status.
3:47pm  Says some schools use the Federal Aid system of verification, & others use SAVE
3:49pm  Says this discussion should be had in the context of world competition. GA is only 1of 3 states w more than 1 top Univ. #hb59
3:50pm  Says only one state in the nation bars undocumented students from matriculating in that state's universities. Warns of reputational risk.
3:52pm  Rep Long asking if there is a box to check for status on GA Univ syst. Applications #hb59
3:53pm  Chancellor points out that ATTENDANCE to a public school is NOT a public benefit. Homeland security says attendance not a public benefit 2
3:54pm  Says GA parents pushing back on how much paperwork that is now being required to prove citizenship. #hb59
3:55pm  One Rep asks Chancellor to provide committee w the rulings that show attendance is not a public benefit.
3:56pm  Chairman just said the committee wants to avoid ppl "making similar statements"!!!!!! CAN'T DO THAT!!!! that's what these hearings ARE FOR!!
3:57pm  Prof from W.Ga speaking on behalf of undocumented students who pay more than documented residents. #hb59
3:58pm  Says her classes have been full before, but NOT bc undocumented students have filled them up.
3:59pm  Her name was Dr. Cook. Eva Cardenas of GADREAMERS talking now. That's my girl! #hb59
4:00pm  Talking abt how NAFTA made ppl like her economic refugees. Wants committee to understand that. PREACH, baby girl!! #hb59
4:01pm  Correlating Jim Crowism w #hb59. Has GA learned anything from it's past?
4:02pm  Points out how the 501 undocumented students in the GA Univ syst are more than worth their academic weight in gold (cites statistics).#hb59
4:04pm  Says bill will only create a second class system. Warns that the children of the students will remember... #hb59
4:04pm  Audience claps & Chairman says no clapping. WTF
4:05pm  Tony Harris Bosselman, educator, says educator "shocked" & "appalled" at #hb59
4:06pm  "We are ALL better off the more we educate." #hb59
4:07pm  She says "to you, they are an abstraction. To ME they are human beings. They only want to better themselves." #hb59
4:08pm  "they humble me every day of my life." #hb59 "we want ppl in schools & not on the streets w no option. I've not heard a rationale. Who wins
4:08pm  Roberto Gutierrez given 2 minutes to speak.
4:10pm  Points out how undocumented students have no access to becas like HOPE. They are in no way a drain on public benefits syst. #hb59
4:11pm  "don't kill my dream nor that of my friends, either." #hb59
4:12pm  Lt. Colonel says he feels like he's been put back in the 50's & 60's. Says "u make a profit off these students? So why don't you want them?”
4:13pm  Did a study of taxes paid by undocumented residents & reads off major pts. #hb59
4:15pm  “Why can't the ppl in the lowest tax brackets go to school?” He wants undocumented students to actually pay in-state tuition. #hb59
4:18pm  The Lt Colonel is a white man. Wasn't told upon approaching podium that he had a time-limit like Roberto had.
4:18pm  One committee member needs a lesson on how undocumented ppl pay INTO tax system & don't get to take OUT. says he doesn't "see it" cause he's
4:18pm  A CPA & a tax-preparer. LAWD #hb59
4:22pm  Azadeh says limiting access to higher education is short-sighted. These very ppl may become citizens one day & it's not likely they leave GA
4:28pm  Rev. Myers-Brown cuts chairman's attempt to limit her time off! YESS! says she's here to represent what God has to say abt imm. Issues
4:30pm  Maria Duarte corrects chairman on the pronunciation of her name as he gives her a time-limit. GO girl! #hb59
4:32pm  Says bd of Rgts has already tackled this issue. Leave immigration to Feds. #hb59
4:33pm  Everyone let's out a collective sigh as DA King takes mic. Intros himself as the "chief sweeper" given no time-limit. #hb59
4:33pm  Says he was taught that justice is equal application of the law. & he's got great sympathy for a child brought here not if his own choice
4:34pm  Says he doesn't want to be the one to tell the fam of a "legal" immigrant fam that their kid's spot @ school was taken by someone who is
4:35pm  "deportable at any time." WTF?!! #hb59
4:44pm  Rep Long talks abt Jim Crowism. Crowd goes wild. Ppl shouting "That's RIGHT!" #hb59 asks King what these students would do on the streets
4:46pm  King cuts Rep Long off!!! #whiteprivilege
4:48pm  Rep Knight asks King abt (CPA) to be enlightened abt "the taxes". WTF?! How are you in office??? #hb59
4:49pm  King educating Knight on how an undocumented ppl get tax id #s.#hb59
4:50pm  King says that undocumented ppl have no right to be classified the same way real hard-working and legal immigrants. WTF?????!!!!!!!! #hb59
4:52pm  Rice says he got a letter from his pastor asking where grace & mercy were in this bill. He said sometimes grace & justice collide.#hb59
4:52pm  Rice said grace & mercy were allowing undocumented students to matriculated k-12 & to benefit from the public health syst. LORD JESUS!
4:52pm  Rep Knight motions to pass #hb59
4:53pm  #hb59 just passed!!! Ppl shouting "ROLL CALL!"
4:58pm  I just bumped into DA King. & Eva's crying. I feel like crying! just hugged Gina.
5:15pm  #hb59 passed out of COMMITTEE, it's not law yet. Disappointment abounds, nonetheless. Ok... Sadness
5:23pm  #hb59 now goes to Rules where they could push it onto a floor vote or where it could sit til the end of session.
5:24pm  Even if it makes it to the floor it could be ignored til the end of session. #hb59 #fightsnotdoneyet

Friday, February 11, 2011

Live Tweet Transcript from HB 87( AZ Copycat bill) Hearing

9:33 am Overflow room is totally full with our folks. Some of us are in white, all of us have stickers that say (cont)
9:37 am  It's a much more diverse crowd than last week - it's beautiful to see Black, Latino, Asian and white folks all (cont)
9:39 am  Rep Golick starting us up, introducing the 3rd and final hearing for #HB87
9:39 am  Empezamos, Golick habla junta hasta las 12, 5 minutes for witness.
9:40 am  1st witness Mrs. Jean Barton We steal her commonn language!
9:41 am Jan Barton testifying, from Marietta saying she is sick of illegals stealing 'our common language.' ugh
9:44 am  She claims she represents the majority of Georgians.
9:45 am  2nd WW testifying that "illegals" are why she doesn't have a job
9:52 am  WM testifying that all schools should ask every parent to provide papers and info of country of origins (cont)  
9:54 am Eve Howe of ABLE testifying, teaches ESL classes:  "HB87 brings us back to the 50's and 60's."
9:54 am Another guy from ABLE:  the bill makes him think back on the 30's.  the bill is wrong
9:55 am Retired army col is going thru the bill showing the lack of sense AND love in the bill.
9:56  am He asks, "Why are we doing this?"
9:59 am  Robert Ross is the next speaker
10:00 am  Same hate speech
10:02 am  Farm Bureu and Chambers of Commerce support amnesty
10:03 am  John McKenzy, public school teacher testifying how this bill will hurt his students
10:06 am  Talking about students whose fathers are being detained & deported & how it is destroying families
10:07 am  says original participants of tea party, Rosa Parks, MLK broke the law
10:08 am  This legislation is not America.  Current immigration law is broken.  This is not AZ.  We are in the South.  We welcome everyone 
10:09 am He is quoting Bible, country music to show that the whole rule of law argument is a farce!
10:09 am "Bill is 'unsouthern' and 'unChristian'"
10:11 am Gwinnett county sheriff testifying now about how 287g works
10:12 am  Sherrif's officer also supports bill
10:17 am Former cop is testifying about states' rights, arguing that the federal gov't is usurping AZ state (cont) 
10:18 am  Family Refugee services priest speaking
10:20 am  Irish priest testifying to the discrimination his forefathers experienced in this country, arguing against hb87 (cont)
10:20 am  Referring to Lincoln that all men are created equal
10:21 am  He's quoting Lincoln in saying you can't have exceptions to "all men are created equal"
10:25 am  New girl talking when will they understand that with the current system there is no way to become legal
10:27 am Tricia sung of OCA Georgia is testifying.
10:29 am  Remembering race-based esclusionary policies.  Arguing we don't want to repeat that.
11:12 am  Adelina Nichols from GHLAR is talking in favor of immigrants.
11:19 am  Making the point that we are not taking their jobs
11:19 am  She invites Mr. Chairman to go with her out to Atl see how human rights are violated by police officers and ask for a vote of "no"
11:20 am  she is supporting solutions that respect people's civil and human rights.
11:21 am  And urging GA not to go backward.
11:21 am  Alexis from Culture Connect testifying to her own family's history as Jews pushed put of countries, forcing their migration
11:21 am  Speaking directly to the challenges of e-verify
11:22 am  And reminding legislators to not just look at what immigrants "cost" but what we contribute!
11:26 am  Charles Kuck testifying that addressing immigration piecemeal will not solve the problem.
11:27 am  The chairman just pulled out an old quote of Kuck's from a statement to the press and demanded he explain himself
11:28 am  HB 87 won't solve the broken immigration system-Kuck
11:29 am Kuck demanding to see the fiscal note on this bill, pointing out how ridiculous the cost of this kind of enforcement would be
11:31 am  Also pointing out that everyone talks about the cost of immigrants but fails to metion the nine+ billion dollars we contribute just in GA!
11:33 am Kuck arguing that it's not fair to saddle police with this kind of mandate.
11:34 am We in GA salute our brethern in Egypt on their victory as we wage our own battle w immigration.  We ride your wave of perserverance.
11:42 am  A republican attorney of Latino and irish heritage is talking
11:43 am  He's giving a very balanced presentation about the number of undocumented workers who pay federal taxes &
11:44 am Chairman defending the fact that the bill has been thru 17 drafts...Basically dismissing testimony because it's (cont)
11:47 am  Lawyer asks "What parent wouuldn't break the law to provide for their children?"
11:47 am  Amy Todd who works with domestic violence is testifying.
11:47 am  Saying women are terrified to get help even when the are being abused.
11:48 am  Speaking directly about women whose status is based on their abusive spouses.
11:49 am  Telling real stories about women suffering, giving the issue full humanity.
11:52 am  Lisa Adler of Amnesty International speaking.
11:55 am  Helen Kim Ho of Asian American Legal Advocacy Coalition testifying about the need for a path to legalization
12:10 pm  She will be final testimony.  Discussing how e-verify is expensive, burdensome, and inaccurate.
12:10 pm  Unitl now we have 12 witnesses in favor of HB 87 and 16 against
12:11 pm  Giving numbers in favor or immigrant community, E-Verify affects citizens and LPR because it is not accurate
12:11 pm  Chairman opens for another witness. A WW talking about how she believes in family and HB 87 will separate families
12:12 pm WW from Habersham Cty reminding the committee that while humans can commit illegal acts, no single human being can be "illegal"
12:18 pm Hearing concluded!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

[HumanRightsAtlanta] TOMORROW, Come say No to HB 87, Immigrants ARE Welcome Here!

Dear Friends,

On Friday (Feb 11th), HB 87 (the House version of the Arizona copycat bill) is holding its 3rd and final hearing.  We do not know if they will be voting it through committee this same day or not, but either way, it is an important day as we build momentum against this racist bill (and its companion bill SB 40).

If you can, please come down to the capitol to Room 132 (in the main building) at 8:30am.  The hearing starts at 9:30am but it get full very quickly.  Wear WHITE as a show of unity and solidarity. We will also have stickers to pass out there.

This bill is serious folks.  While its authors are still making changes to it, it is a bill designed to drive immigrants out of Georgia, to make life so hard that people self-deport, to criminalize and racially profile brown people, to further empower law enforcement to stop, detain and check your status.  It is ugly, it is mean, it is racist, and it is IMPERATIVE we fight this until the bitter end! 

If you can't come but you are interested in getting involved in this struggle as it unfolds over the next few months, please let us know as well!  We know we will be planning a public action soon, reaching out to national folks to pledge to boycott the state, and most importantly, linking this to the overall struggle against racism by building a Black-Brown alliance to fight it. 

In solidarity,
Lisa and Xochitl

p.s. Feel free to forward this!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

[HumanRightsAtlanta] Today-call your state rep to ask for their NO vote on English-only driver's license bill!

Dear all,


House bill 72, the English-only Driver’s license bill, will be up for a vote before the full House of Representatives later today; please call Speaker of the House David Ralston: (404) 656-5020, as well as your representative in the Georgia House, and ask them to vote NO on this measure.  (To find out who represents you in the GA House, visit:


Feel free to refer to the attached ACLU of Georgia fact sheet on the bill as you make those calls.


By violating federal law, HB 72 would subject Georgia to withdrawal of federal funds; crucially, federal funds for the GA DOT amount to the greatest share of its annual budget, that is, more than $1,200,000,000 per year in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. 






Azadeh N. Shahshahani

National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project Director

American Civil L iberties Union of Georgia

1900 The Exchange SE, Suite 425

Atlanta, GA 30339




Monday, February 7, 2011

[HumanRightsAtlanta] TODAY and TUESDAY legislative hearings on AZ copycat laws in GA

There are 2 important hearings TODAY AND TOMORROW at the state Capitol.  Tonight, many of us will be gathering to hash out a strategy that enables us to decide which hearings are most important to have people at in large numbers, because we know we cant pack each and every one.  BUT if you can make it today and/or tomorrow, our presence will make a strong statement to the legislators.  
Media coverage of last Friday's hearing confirmed that our overflowing presence made a difference -- and a clear statement that Georgians will NOT tolerate this hate-filled legislation.

Details on the hearings are below -- SB40 and HB87 are both AZ Copycat laws that MUST be defeated!

SB 40 - Monday is 2:30 pm , room 450 Capitol (this is a large room) Sub-Committee of Senate Judiciary
HB 87 - Tuesday, 9:30 am - noon, room 132 Capitol, public comment

Yes, as many people who can attend should pack the room Monday, even if there is no public testimony as we now expect. I believe this will be one of the fairest conducted meetings there will be. The Chairman is not a lock-step ideologue.
The sub-committee will likely do as was done in the first hearing of HB 87, have Murphy present SB 40 and take sub-committee questions. In addition, there may be other members of the full committee that decide to attend and question. I will see Crosby in the morning as soon as he gets there to confirm his plans. Someone has to bring stickers for this hearing too.
This Senate sub-committee (and the full committee) is much better than the House. 
Sen. John Crosby R-Tifton 
Sen. Sen. Jason Carter D-Atlanta
Sen. Vincent Fort D-Atlanta
Sen. Josh McKoon R-Columbus
Sen. Jesse Stones R-Waynesboro
Crosby is a retired judge and our BEST chance in the Senate to get a Republican to talk reality. He is not lock-step. And the meeting we had last week with farmers was in his district and they are working on him. He helped us last year write a Resolution urging Congress to enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform. He have not always gotten his vote, but he has been open and fair.
Carter and Fort are solid supporters. McKoon and Stone are anti's, but brand new so we have to work them hard. 
So if you counted, that's 2 to 2, with Crosby the tie-breaker. 
But (there is always a but) three things could happen:
1- Crosby could not vote and pass the bill onto the full committee without a recommendation
2- Crosby could be a good soldier, suggest revisions during the meeting and then vote to send it on (reserving the right to vote no in the future) THIS I THINK IS MOST LIKELY.
3- He could vote no, and the committee Chairman would likely replace him. Even if he voted no, the full-committee could still resurrect and do a Committee Substitute.
The full Judiciary Committee is one of the better committees to work overall, so glad it didn't go to Public Safety! More about the other members Mon. night.
Yes, the strong turnout for Tuesday is also imperative. The press thinks the House bill will move first and they will cover the new version of Ramsey's closely. (We won't see it until late Monday, or maybe not even until they meet Tuesday.
Larry Pellegrini

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Groupon's FACETIOUS and CONDESCENDING response to my complaint about their Super Bowl commercial

Dave M, Feb-06 09:08 pm (CST):
Hi ___________,
Thanks for your feedback!
We certainly don't mean to offend with our advertisements. We think renting celebrities to promote our "Save the Money" campaign is pretty funny, but we understand if it doesn't tickle you the right way.
In fact, we're already raising awareness and funds for organizations who are doing work around these causes. Please go to and you will have the opportunity to donate to any of these causes. Groupon will gladly match your donation.
Additionally, we do occasionally feature other real charities on our site, so if you have any suggestions for us, please let us know here:
Thanks again for your feedback! Let me know if you have any other suggestions or questions.
Dave M

Friday, February 4, 2011

National Lawyer's Guild Sign-on Statement in Support of the Egyptian People

Dear friends,

The National Lawyers Guild encourages lawyers, legal workers, legal
organizations, and supporters of the attached statement to contact us,, by 12 p.m., Tuesday, February 8th, in order to sign
on to this letter in support of the Egyptian people. The letter will be
sent to the White House, the State Department, and the Justice Department.

Please share widely.

Thanks so much,
Attachment(s) from Azadeh Shahshahani
1 of 1 File(s)

ACLU Of Georgia Urges Lawmakers To Reject Arizona-Style Racial Profiling Bills

ACLU Of Georgia Urges Lawmakers To Reject Arizona-Style Racial Profiling Bills


State lawmakers should be wary of subjecting Georgia taxpayers to exorbitant litigation costs defending the unconstitutional legislation, says ACLU



February 4, 2011


Atlanta – The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia today called on state lawmakers to reject bills similar to Arizona’s notorious racial profiling law and vowed to challenge in court any such legislation if it were to go into effect.  The ACLU made the call after Georgia lawmakers including State Representative Matt Ramsey and State Senator Jack Murphy proposed Arizona-style legislation, House Bill 87 and Senate Bill 40. 


“The proposed bills are unconstitutional and violate core American values,” said Debbie Seagraves, ACLU of Georgia Executive Director.  “The ACLU of Georgia will challenge such racial profiling legislation if passed in Georgia,” said Seagraves.


The bills order law enforcement officers throughout Georgia to use racial profiling as a tool.  Despite language that superficially purports to prohibit enforcement based on race and national origin, in reality, those are the only factors the police can rely on in order to suspect undocumented status. 


“The legislation will likely suffer the same fate as key provisions of Arizona's notorious SB 1070, which were blocked by a federal court,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU of Georgia National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project Director.  “Laws that promise to turn the state into "show me your papers" territory would not withstand legal challenge,” said Shahshahani.


State Representative Matt Ramsey’s proposed HB 87 would require state and local law enforcement officials to investigate the immigration status of all individuals they “reasonably suspect” to be undocumented whom they come into contact with in the course of an offense, including traffic offenses.  It would also require private employers to use the flawed E-Verify database and establishes civil sanctions in case of non-compliance.  The bill creates criminal penalties for any individual that encourages an undocumented person to come to Georgia or transports or harbors them once they arrive.  In addition, it would allow any “legal resident” to bring a lawsuit against any Georgia official or agency whom they believe not to be enforcing provisions of the bill.


SB 40, sponsored by State Senator Jack Murphy, mirrors several provisions of HB 87, such as requiring local law enforcement to investigate individuals’ immigration status where there is “reasonable cause” to believe that they may be undocumented, and penalizing certain employers that do not use E-Verify.  SB 40 also orders fines and jail time for certain non-citizens that do not carry and produce a “certificate of registration.”


Both bills authorize state and local law enforcement to detain individuals for an unspecified period of time to determine their status and gives police to power to make warrantless arrests. 


HB 87 and SB 40 significantly resemble Arizona’s SB 1070, most importantly in key provisions that were blocked by an Arizona judge the day before the bill was to go into effect last July.  Arizona’s racial profiling law has faced legal opposition from the Department of Justice as well as civil liberties and immigrants’ rights groups.  Defending the unconstitutional law has already cost Arizona taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation fees.




The purpose of the ACLU of Georgia is to advance the cause of civil liberties in Georgia, with emphasis on the rights of free speech, free press, free assembly, freedom of religion, due process of law and to take all legitimate action in the furtherance of such purposes without political partisanship.


The ACLU of Georgia National Security/Immigrants’ project is aimed at bringing Georgia and its localities into compliance with international human rights and constitutional standards in treatment of refugee and immigrant communities, including immigrant detainees.



Azadeh N. Shahshahani

National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project Director

American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia

1900 The Exchange SE, Suite 425

Atlanta, GA 30339




Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Red Tide under the Gold Dome Potluck Dinner & Discussion with GA leaders about issues vital to Georgians!

Red Tide under the Gold Dome
Reactionary attacks in the Georgia General Assembly on education, immigration, health care and other issues vital to Georgians – and what we can do about it!

Potluck – 6:30
Bring a dish to share

Program – 7:30
A panel of well-informed speakers who know the issues:
State Senator Nan Orrock
House Minority Leader Rep. Stacey Abrams
Linda Lowe, consumer health care advocate
Adelina Nicholls, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights

Followed by Q & A

Monday, February 7
Atlanta Friends Meeting House
701 West Howard Avenue, Decatur

This is one in an ongoing series of quarterly programs sponsored by:
Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition/Atlanta