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Trio of anti-immigrant bills move forward in the Georgia legislature

Advancing Justice-Atlanta calls to end legislation targeting immigrants.

Atlanta, Georgia, March 1, 2016 — Atlanta, GA – A trio of mean-spirited anti-immigrant bills – Senate Bill 6, Senate Resolution 675, and House Bill 781 – have moved forward in the Georgia legislature. On February 29, 2016, designated as Crossover Day, the Georgia legislature was flooded with legislations that will harm the Asian American and larger immigrant communities.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta (Advancing Justice – Atlanta) along with chambers of commerce, business leaders, and a multi-ethnic coalition of partners, is in strong opposition to these anti-immigrant bills and are asking our Asian American community to urge your legislators to VOTE NO on SB6, SR 675, and HB 781.

House Bill 781 is an unnecessary bill that restricts vital economic growth for the state, takes away local decisions from communities, and limits the civic participation of Georgia's immigrant communities by prohibiting non U.S. citizens and non-lawful permanent residents from participating in local and state governing boards and commissions.

Senate Bill 6 would take driver’s licenses away from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and replace them with so-called “Driver Safety Cards” that is designed to dehumanize and stigmatize those who have been granted lawful presence by the federal government, as second class Georgians. The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute calls SB 6 wasteful and estimates, conservatively, that the design and production of these cards could cost, at the minimum, $450,000. Under current Georgia law, the driver's licenses of DACA recipients are already marked with the words "Limited Term," thus distinguishing them from other licenses.

Senate Resolution 675 amends the Georgia’s Constitution to declare English the state’s official language. Contrary to popular rhetoric, this bill is not the same as the 1996 statute that made English the official language of Georgia. The 1996 statute gave state and local agencies discretion to use other languages as needed. SR 675 takes away discretion and control from government agencies and creates confusion for immigrants trying to access vital services, like shelters, food banks, and even taking their drivers license exam.

“This is pure discrimination and is an attack on hard working immigrants. There is no compelling economic or security justification for the discrimination. If these bills pass, it would limit access to state services to Limited English proficient immigrant communities, 26% being Asian Americans” said Executive Director, Stephanie Cho. “This wasteful and hateful rhetoric diminishes Georgia’s economy, limits civic participation, and has no place in Georgia”.

We URGE people in opposition Anti-immigrant legislation to call 1-877-721-4575 and tell your legislator to SAY NO to SB 6 & SR 675, then call 1-844-749-7985 and tell your legislator to SAY NO on HB781. Make calls today!

For more information about Asian Americans Advancing Justice, call 404-585-8446 or email info@advancingjustice-atlanta.org.

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