Written by: DA King

“To be clear, I’m not in the camp that Governor Kemp trusts in relation to illegal immigration declarations.”

Dear Georgia State Legislator,

The professional license agreements that you voted for in the 2021 General Assembly are apparently now a “problem”. We hope that our work from here is related to your increased interest in and investigation of these bills and the potential impact on illegal immigration in Georgia.

Interstate compacts are new to us. But along with other sections of the illegal immigration code that I helped shape, improve, and defend, I’ve been working on OCGA 50-36-1 since 2006.

I first noticed HB 34 on the morning of February 25th – just hours before it passed the house. After reading the long bill quickly but carefully, I emailed several members of the House of Representatives alerting them to possible problems the proposed contract could cause with the existing public benefit eligibility verification system. I also called and emailed the speaker’s office. I have confirmed receipt of my email.

I added the text of my original February 25 email to the first blog post on HB 34. Hope you have seen examples of my time consuming record on these invoices. I assure you that this was not done out of boredom.

A house member I have known for years responded to my concern in February. “… I went to the legal advisor for HB 34 and you were right, DA …” I wanted to be wrong.

I also became aware of HB 268 and shortly afterwards HB395. I knew that the Georgia Chamber of Commerce was promoting the contracts contained in this legislation, and that these agreements could affect illegal immigration. There are no examples of the GA Chamber advocating immigration enforcement to post you.

After the House passed all three bills, I sent notes to several Senate members – including the Senate Majority Leader – asking for line numbers related to language that would allay my fears that the interstate treaties reduce security in immigration review would. The only answer I got was from my own senator. There was no language quote that could alleviate my fears. I have also personally asked several interested Georgians to request the same information from their own senators. I haven’t spoken to anyone who has even received an answer.

I also learned about the GORRC and the involvement of the Georgian Foreign Ministry in the Council’s process, taking into account the compact legislation. I continued to hope that someone in power would cite a language I may have overlooked in the bills to allay my concerns that illegal aliens could access the professional licenses covered in the measures. I spoke to an officer in the SoS office, sent a request for comment on information – and again asked for a line number in a language that would allay my fears. There was no answer other than an acknowledgment of receipt.

I now see a Legislative Opinion letter dated May 6, 2021 to a member of the House of Representatives who appeared to be asking the same question that another House member asked about HB 34 in February. This time around, the view is that the phrase “nothing in this document prevents the enforcement of any other law in a Member State that is not incompatible with the Pact” is a language that preserves the current system of immigration screening.

I read the quoted sentence several times in my review of the bills. I do not consent to the automatic use of a verification system – including the affidavit – to process applications for professional licenses from applicants with existing credentials from other countries. However, I sincerely hope that the latest opinion reflects how the new laws are actually being implemented.