Georgia House passes immigration bill as activists plan work stoppage - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Georgia House passes immigration bill as activists plan work stoppage

(Atlanta, Georgia-AP) March 23, 2006 - The Georgia House approved sweeping changes to the state's immigration policy Thursday.

The measure would deny some state services to adults living in the US illegally and impose a five percent surcharge on wire transfers from illegals.

Immigrant communities responded by encouraging a work stoppage Thursday in protest.

Frazzled lawmakers from both sides of the debate called for calm.

It is the latest twist for what is perhaps one of the most contentious measures taken up by the Legislature this session.

Supporters say the plan, which passed by a 123-51 vote, is a vital homeland security measure that frees up limited state resources for Georgia residents who are legally entitled to them. Opponents say it unfairly targets workers who are merely responding to the demands of some of the state's largest industries.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Chip Rogers of Woodstock, also sanctions companies that knowingly employ undocumented workers and imposes stiff penalties on human trafficking.

House changes must first be approved by the Senate before going to Governor Perdue for his approval.

Activists called for a "day of dignity" Friday when immigrants would refrain from buying anything and skip work if possible.

The observance has been promoted on Spanish-speaking media throughout Georgia.

Teodoro Maus, of the Coordinating Committee of Community Leaders, says the action is not a boycott but a signal of the immigrant community's impact on the state's economy.

Posted 4:38pm by Chantelle Janelle

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