The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Earls
(202) 261-2388

Shame on Georgia

Bad Deal: Not Learning Lessons of Arizona, Georgia Governor Signs Costly Legislation


Last Friday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (R) placed his state on a perilous path by signing anti-immigration legislation modeled after Arizona's "papers, please" immigration law.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice Education Fund, "Georgia has thumbed its nose at solutions, common sense, and economic progress while managing to divide the state, straightjacket law enforcement, insult immigrants, and raise a 'Not Welcome' sign to the state's fast growing Latino population. Georgia can expect legal challenges and a major boycott, both of which we will support. Moreover, by following down this path, Georgia clearly did not heed the lessons learned by Arizona - which should have given pause to right-thinking lawmakers within the state. Independent from the stain on a state's reputation is the tremendous economic toll incurred by enacting these laws."

According to a recent study by the Center for American Progress, "Arizona saw a total loss of $217 million in direct spending by convention attendees, along with an additional $535.4 million in lost tax revenues, economic output, and earnings in the immediate wake of S.B. 1070's enactment." Additionally, by following Arizona's example, Georgia can now expect millions of dollars in legal bills, thousands of jobs lost due to decreased economic activity, and organized boycotts across the state.

Concluded Sharry, "Unfortunately, in the absence of a national fix to immigration, more and more states will try to address immigration on their own. But we won't end illegal immigration and restore the rule of law through a patchwork of immigration policies across the states. Instead of standing idly by, Members of Congress in both parties should get to work on immigration reform."

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.