ATLANTA, GA (GALEO) - For the first time since 2006, the Georgia Legislature did NOT pass any anti-immigrant legislation. SB458, Georgia's Anti-DREAM Act, that among other things would have placed Georgia in the extreme position of being one of three states in the nation that deny access to higher education to undocumented students died on the last day of the legislature because of lack of support among the Legislators.
This does not mean this bill or initiative is done. We must continue to be vigilant and we will commit to fight if this type of initiative resurfaces in the next legislative session and beyond. For the moment, we can celebrate as a community as we take note of our accomplishment in defeating SB458 through the collaborative efforts of many students, immigrant rights and civil rights groups, individuals, educators, faith leaders and legislators who worked tirelessly to oppose this measure. We win for now, but we remain committed towards creating a more welcoming Georgia for all, including our immigrant brothers and sisters.
That is why 2012 is so important! There are 88,000 Latinos in Georgia who are eligible to register to vote but are not yet registered.
SB458 will be an election year target for the Latino community and we will develop a scorecard on this to educate Latino voters of who supports these types of attacks against immigrant students. More information will be made available soon on our scorecard.
Needless to say, here are some articles of interest following the demise of SB458:
Creative Loafing's 2012 Golden Sleaze Awards, The "Hold My Hand, You Big Xenophobic Teddy Bear, You" Award to Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville. "Loudermilk could easily have left undocumented immigrants well enough alone after the General Assembly last year approved Arizona-style legislation. Rule No. 1 of the Gold Dome: One must never stop harassing Mexicans."
Georgia, Latinos, and the Latino Vote
By: Erwin de Leon, Posted: 04/ 3/2012 6:38 am on the HuffingtonPost.com: Georgia lawmakers are at it again, less than a year after passing their own version of Arizona's hardcore immigration law. They tried to pass a statute that would have made life all the more difficult for many immigrants. SB 458 would have rendered foreign passports unacceptable as identification when conducting business with government agencies. Obtaining marriage licenses or signing up for water and sewage service for instance could have become insurmountable challenges.
Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, has been at the forefront of the battle for immigrants' rightful place in Georgia. He discussed the state's attrition-through-enforcement initiatives.
Gonzalez is hoping though that the devastating effects and backlash against Georgia's immigration law has turned the tide on anti-immigrant fervor. He witnessed a slight shift with SB 458.
Gonzalez said that prohibiting access to higher education had become "an unpalatable position for many Republican legislators," who control both Georgia's General Assembly and Senate. "If they wanted something to pass they could make it pass early on, even as a standalone bill."
He believes that the personal experience and connection of key Republicans contributed to the demise of the measure.
The Georgia-Alabama American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Chapter in partnership with the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) is having its Spring Citizenship Day on Saturday, April 14th at the Latin American Association. The event is free of charge and is open to the public from 9AM to 4PM.
Individuals eligible to apply for citizenship will receive assistance from immigration attorneys.