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State’s strict immigration law goes unenforced

January 25, 2009
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
1/25/2009

A key goal of Georgia’s 2006 law cracking down on illegal immigration was simple and controversial: stop undocumented immigrants from earning wages paid by taxpayers. Supporters heralded the provision as one of the nation’s toughest because it orders local governments, their contractors and subcontractors to confirm the legal status of new hires.

But the provision has amounted to less than proponents hoped and critics feared. No one in state government is enforcing the law. No one at the state level has checked to see whether governments and businesses are complying. And nothing happens to them if they don’t.

A year and a half after the law required every government in Georgia to sign up with the federal Homeland Security Department to verify the legal status of new hires, the Georgia Department of Labor has no idea what agencies or governments are complying. The department is tasked with setting guidelines for implementing the 2006 Immigration Security and Compliance Act.

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