NORCROSS, GA , March 25, 2016 — Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta (Advancing Justice – Atlanta) is proud to announce that a trio of policies targeting immigrants and refugees has failed to move forward in the Georgia legislature. We applaud the Georgia Legislature for defending the rights of immigrant communities and call for an end to all anti-immigrant and discriminatory legislation.
“We have seen an unprecedented flood of mean-spirited and anti-immigrant measures this legislative session,” stated Stephanie Cho, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta’s Executive Director. “Today, we are proud to announce that at the end of this year’s session, the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, ranging from ethnic chambers, community organizations, churches, businesses, and individuals have been heard. This is a victory for our communities here in Georgia. We will continue to fight against these discriminatory and unnecessary policies that aim to hurt immigrants and negatively impact our local and state economy in the years to come.”
Thanks to Advancing Justice – Atlanta’s lobbying efforts, strong alliances between multi-ethnic partner immigrant rights’ groups, support from elected officials and ethnic chambers of commerce, and community organizations, the following legislation has been stopped: Senate Resolution 675, Senate Bill 6, and House Bill 781 (later re-introduced as an amendment to Senate Bill 85).
SR 675 would have made English the only official language of Georgia, creating barriers for non-English speaking citizens. This would have placed an undue burden on Limited English Proficient Georgia residents, affecting their ability to access government services such as driver’s license exams.
SB 6 would have taken away driver’s licenses from individuals with federally granted deferred action status. This proposed legislation would have stigmatized individuals with deferred action status by revoking their driver’s licenses and requiring them to instead carry multiple forms of identification, including a driver’s safety card clearly marked with the words “no lawful status.”
HB781 (which was defeated, and then re-introduced as an amendment to SB85) would have required that any person appointed to local boards, commissions, councils, etc be a U.S. citizen. It would have restricted local control from cities and denied immigrants the opportunity to meaningfully engage in public life and contribute to the vital growth and economic sustainability of Georgia.
Advancing Justice – Atlanta has been at the forefront against these proposed anti-immigrant bills, having organized press conferences with ethnic chambers of commerce and allied groups, collected signatures for a petition against the proposed legislation, and engaged community members to call their elected representatives to speak out against this hateful rhetoric.
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