Category Archives: Georgia Legislation

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 178

Work for Integration With Local Leaders. How can parish leaders work with local leaders to help with the integration of migrating people into their communities? The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) offers suggestions. https://cliniclegal.org/resources/promoting-immigrant-integration- ideas-working-together-your-local-officials

Refugee Travel Ban. The Trump administration travel ban has again been prohibited by the courts. Catholic leaders speak in support of refugees. https://cliniclegal.org/resources/network-nonprofit-immigration-legal-services- lauds-court-stays-travel-ban-and-refugee

Georgia Legislation. There are two bills moving through the Georgia General Assembly that have a likelihood of passage and could adversely affect immigrants, both documented and undocumented. The Georgia Catholic Conference opposes both bills.

HB 37 would bar state funding to private post-secondary institutions which declare themselves “sanctuary campuses.”

HB 452 would require the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to create and maintain a public website with the names of all aliens, i.e. non-citizens, who have been released from federal custody in Georgia.

ICYMI – Seek Qualified Assistance. In this time of uncertainty for many immigrants and refugees, many seek help with legal issues. It is essential that everyone use only qualified attorneys or legal service providers. CLINIC offers resources to avoid unqualified individuals who prey on those in need. https://cliniclegal.org/notario. In particular, check out five tips for avoiding scams. https://cliniclegal.org/sites/default/files/resources/unauthorizedpractice/5-Ways-to- Avoid-Immigration-Scams.pdf If you know someone who may be the victim of immigration fraud, here is a way to file a complaint. https://cliniclegal.org/resources/how-and-where-file-immigration-scam-complaint

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 176

Stay Up to Date on Executive Orders. Although the status of executive orders related to immigration changes frequently, avoid rumors and panic. Follow webinars from the Catholic bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/news/webinar-executive-order-dhs-memoranda/

Advocacy Actions. While waiting for governmental action from Washington, there are actions that can be taken now, with some being more than writing to Congress. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/WHAT-YOU-CAN-DO-3.1.17-FINAL.pdf

Local Governments Have an Impact on Immigrants. Comprehensive immigration reform must come from the federal government, but the lives of immigrants and community life can be helped by local action. Take time to join a webinar discussing local government activities on Wednesday, March 8.  https://cliniclegal.org/civicrm/event/info?id=546&reset=1

Who Are the Refugees and Asylum Seekers? Support refugees and asylum seekers through encountering their stories. Look for the faces of migration. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/faces-of-migration/stories-of-migration/

 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 129

Easter in a Detention Center.  While some children hunt Easter eggs at the White House, advocacy groups will be directing attention toward the children and mothers who the United States government is harshly keeping in detention centers   http://us8.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d1e29c8d7ab34d84237ecd8ee&id=d74478c189&e=dc6326b6e0.

Research Contradicts Political Claims. Candidates for public office are making many claims related to immigrants but objective research produces different results. For example, even though comprehensive immigration reform remains stalled in Congress, not everyone opposes a path to citizenship http://ht.ly/ZQEn5.

Pope Francis Speaks to Refugees and Migrants During Holy Week.  On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis washed the feet of several refugees, including Muslims, Hindus and Copts https://cnstopstories.com/2016/03/24/pope-to-refugees-despite-differences-all-people-are-gods-children/. There is a video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVjHt13RJ9A.

Georgia Proposed Legislation. As we had hoped, the General Assembly did not adopt either SB 6 which would have required restricted driver licenses or SR 675 which would have proposed a constitutional amendment limiting the use of non-English languages in government activity.

The General Assembly did, however, adopt to allow State and local governments to appoint as members of policy making bodies only persons who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and legal residents of the State of Georgia.

The General Assembly also adopted SB 269 which will make it mandatory, rather than optional, that certification is required for local governments to comply with the previously enacted sanctuary cities policy.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 128

Pope Francis Continues to Reflect on the Migration of Peoples.  Pope Francis spoke of the sufferings caused migrant people because of “closed door and closed hearts” https://cnstopstories.com/2016/03/16/closed-doors-hearts-cause-suffering-to-innocent-migrants-pope-says/. The Pope reminded all that even in apparent abandonment, God is always present. “The true and radical return from exile and the comforting light after the darkness of the crisis of faith is fulfilled in Easter, in the full and definitive experience of the love of God, a merciful love that gives joy, peace and eternal life,” he said.

Also, in a powerful symbolic gesture that is sure to resonate across the globe from Europe to the United States and Australia, Pope Francis will wash the feet of 12 refugees on Holy Thursday in Rome http://ht.ly/ZxOPx.

St. Patrick was a Refugee and Immigrant to Ireland.  We often speak of the contributions of immigrants to the United States and elsewhere but the Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Emmon Martin, reminded his people that St. Patrick came as an immigrant but ultimately brought untold grace to all Ireland http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2016/03/16/message-for-saint-patricks-day-2016-from-archbishop-eamon-martin-2/.

Immigrants Need to Pay Taxes. Regardless of one’s immigrations status, those who earn money in the United States must pay income taxes. Remind those with whom you are working of this requirement. https://cliniclegal.org/tax-preparation-assistance

Georgia Proposed Legislation. As expected, several adverse immigration bills made progress in the Georgia General Assembly.

As of this writing, neither SB 6 which would require restricted driver licenses nor SR 675 which would propose a constitutional amendment limiting the use of non-English languages in government activity have advanced in the General Assembly.

The State Senate is still waiting to consider HB 781 (which is now identified as SB 83) to allow State and local governments to appoint as members of policy making bodies only persons who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and legal residents of the State of Georgia.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 127

Georgia Proposed Legislation. As expected, several adverse immigration bills made progress in the Georgia General Assembly.

A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee refused to recommend passage of SR 675 which would have proposed a constitutional amendment to declare English as the official language of the State of Georgia; provide that official state actions be in English; prohibit any requirement that any language other than English be used in any documents, regulations, orders, transactions, proceedings, meetings, programs, or publications; and prohibit discrimination, penalties, or other limits on participation against persons who speak only English. The Georgia Catholic Conference spoke against the resolution.

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee of the House of Representatives will consider SB 6 which would provide that those with DACA status could only obtain restricted driving privilege licenses and separate identification cards indicating their immigration status. The Catholic Conference is opposing the bill.

The State Senate will consider HB 781 which would allow State and local governments to appoint as members of policy making bodies only persons who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and legal residents of the State of Georgia.

Georgia Instate Tuition. A group of students who have qualified for DACA have now filed suit in federal district court in Atlanta seeking to require the State Board of Regents to give DACA students the benefit of lower instate tuition at Georgia public colleges http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-education/immigrants-without-legal-status-file-suit-over-geo/nqg6k/. The Georgia Supreme Court denied those benefits in a recent case but the suit in federal court could be more effective.

Texas vs. United States. The United States Supreme Court has now scheduled oral argument on April 18th on the issue of whether the Administration exceeded its authority to adopt the DAPA and expanded DACA programs. In addition to the direct parties, various amici curiae or “friends of the court” are submitting briefs on each side of the issue. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is joining a group of 24 other faith based organizations http://www.usccb.org/news/2016/16-029.cfm and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) has joined more than 325 other non-profit organizations in supporting the validity of the programs for humanitarian needs. https://cliniclegal.org/news/clinic-joins-call-supreme-court-lift-stay-deportation-deferral-programs.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 126

Georgia Proposed Legislation. As expected, several adverse immigration bills made progress in the Georgia General Assembly.

SR 675, if adopted by the General Assembly and favorably voted upon by the electorate would declare English as the official language of the State of Georgia; provide that official state actions be in English; prohibit any requirement that any language other than English be used in any documents, regulations, orders, transactions, proceedings, meetings, programs, or publications; and prohibit discrimination, penalties, or other limits on participation against persons who speak only English.

The House of Representatives will now have to consider SB 6 which would provide that those with DACA status could only obtain restricted driving privilege licenses and separate identification cards indicating their immigration status.

The State Senate will consider HB 781 which would allow State and local governments to appoint as members of policy making bodies only persons who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and legal residents of the State of Georgia.

Catholic Bishops Continue to Speak. Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe continues to offer his pastoral perspective on the injustice of the current immigration policies and the need for a more humanitarian approach http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/85396ef27e1441e98705a2130c4b50d9/NM–Catholic-Immigration-Forum.

Texas vs. United States. The United States Supreme Court is still scheduled to hear the Texas case challenging the Administration’s actions in expanding DACA despite the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Because Justice Scalia would likely vote against the Administration’s position, the final result may not be affected by his absence http://immigrationimpact.com/2016/02/19/what-does-justice-scalias-death-mean-for-united-states-v-texas-the-dapadaca-case/. Nonetheless, armies of lawyers are lining up on each side for this important case which is expected to be decided in June of this year.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 125

Georgia Proposed Legislation. After a relatively quiet legislative session related to adverse immigration bills, there were several recent developments.

On Monday, February 29, the State Senate will debate and probably adopt a proposed amendment to the Georgia constitution to make English the official language of State government. SR 675, if adopted by the General Assembly and favorably voted upon by the electorate would declare English as the official language of the State of Georgia; provide that official state actions be in English; prohibit any requirement that any language other than English be used in any documents, regulations, orders, transactions, proceedings, meetings, programs, or publications; and prohibit discrimination, penalties, or other limits on participation against persons who speak only English.

On Monday, the Senate is also likely to pass SB 6 which would provide that those with DACA status could only obtain restricted driving privilege licenses and separate identification cards indicating their immigration status.

The House of Representatives passed HB 781 which would allow State and local governments to appoint as members of policy making bodies only persons who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and legal residents of the State of Georgia.

It should be noted that each of these measures faces additional debate before they become law.

Bishops Continue to Speak on Immigration. Catholic bishops continue to speak and relate immigration policy to the dignity of the human person as emphasized by Pope Francis and Catholic social teaching. Cardinal Sean O’Malley: http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2016/02/18/cardinal-us-immigration-policy-must-combine-compassion-and-safety/. Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange and Chairman of the board of CLINIC: https://cliniclegal.org/news/clinics-board-chairman-reflects-its-work-light-pope-franciss-border-visit-and-season-lent

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 124

Pope Francis In Mexico. It is very difficult to summarize the Holy Father’s apostolic visit to Mexico. Pope Francis addressed many issues pertinent to Catholic life in Mexico and met with political and Church leaders. Among the issues getting media attention in the United States was the migration issue in general and the issue of immigration into the United States. The most significant event related to immigration was Mass and surrounding event occurred at Ciudad Juarez and was supported by others across the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas. See the Catholic News Service Report at https://cnstopstories.com/2016/02/18/pope-francis-vips-gather-in-el-paso-to-welcome-pope-to-u-s-mexico-border/ There are also multiple additional reports of the Pope’s visit from Catholic News Service, America Magazine, CLINIC and others. http://americamagazine.org/content/dispatches/pope-border-juarez-prayer-migrants

Georgia Proposed Legislation. The Rules Committee of the Georgia State Senate has recommended a constitutional amendment to make English the official language of State government. SR 675, if adopted by the General Assembly and favorably voted upon by the electorate would declare English as the official language of the State of Georgia; provide that official state actions be in English; prohibit any requirement that any language other than English be used in any documents, regulations, orders, transactions, proceedings, meetings, programs, or publications; and prohibit discrimination, penalties, or other limits on participation against persons who speak only English.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 123

Pope Francis In Mexico. Pope Francis has begun his apostolic trip to Mexico. While he may touch on many issues during the trip, migration from Central America through Mexico and immigration into the United States are prime topics. In an interview, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, made the point: “It’s not wrong to think the pope is coming to the border to make a statement about the human dignity of immigrants,” acknowledging that such a statement has clear political consequences http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2016/02/08/el-paso-bishop-says-popes-border-stop-is-pastoral-but-with-a-political-edge/?s_campaign=crux:rss?s_campaign=crux:email:ja.

Georgia Proposed Legislation. The Georgia General Assembly has been in session for sixteen of its forty legislative days and there has been little discussion of issues directly related to immigrants. Nonetheless, we are keeping watch over several bills that could impact immigrant peoples. For example, Senator Josh McKoon has proposed legislation to create a new driver’s license for DACA recipients to brand them as “illegal aliens.” http://news.wabe.org/post/ga-senator-wants-separate-driver-cards-illegal-aliens. We are also watching a constitutional amendment to make English the official language of Georgia.

ICYMI -Citizenship.  For those who are eligible, advocates encourage immigrants to seek U.S. citizenship. Among the benefits of citizenship is the right to vote and, thus, impact public policy. http://ht.ly/XTpW4; http://ht.ly/XNRqt

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 122

Georgia Supreme Court Rules Against Dreamers. The Georgia Supreme Court rejected a claim by 39 undocumented immigrant students seeking the right to attend state colleges in Georgia at in-state rates. The Court noted, however, that there were other means of seeking judicial relief and attorneys pledged to use those means http://ht.ly/XXgFS.

Citizenship.  For those who are eligible, advocates encourage immigrants to seek U.S. citizenship. Among the benefits of citizenship is the right to vote and, thus, impact public policy http://ht.ly/XTpW4; http://ht.ly/XNRqt.

IVYMI — Pope Francis Is Coming to America Again. This time he is coming to Mexico in less than two weeks. The Holy Father is expected to continue his advocacy on behalf of migrants, particularly when he visits Ciudad de Juarez on February 17 http://ht.ly/XDQMb.

Georgia Proposed Legislation. The Georgia General Assembly has been in session for sixteen of its forty legislative days and there has been little discussion of issues directly related to immigrants.