ATLANTA -- Thursday morning, before the steps of the Capitol’s north wing, state Sen. Jack Murphy outlined his bill to curb Georgia’s growing illegal immigration problem.
“This is mostly an E-Verify type bill, where the E-Verify system will be used to have the employers check on their employers and make sure they’re in this country legally,” said Murphy, a Republican from Cumming who represents District 27.
The bill targets the public contractors and subcontractors, as well as private employers and individual residents.
Under the proposal, a business would have to verify every new employee through the existing E-Verify program. Only businesses that have filed an H-1 or H-2 application with the U.S. Department of Labor would be exempt.
If the bill is approved, employers who fail to comply once would receive a written warning.
A second violation would yield a fine of up to $10,000 and the third offense would result in losing a business license for up to two years.
“This is a bill not to be punitive,” Murphy said. “I’m the last one that really wants to hurt us economically.”
Murphy’s bill also targets individual illegal immigrants.
For example, the plan would grant broader powers to authorities who suspect that someone stopped for a traffic violation might be in the country illegally.
If the driver could not prove legal status, the officer would be authorized to make an arrest and transfer that person to federal custody.
“We’re not doing anything different in that law than what’s required in the federal law,” Murphy said.
He said his proposal would add the ability to pull a driver’s fingerprints on the side of the road as another form of verification.
With wording similar to Arizona’s controversial immigration law, Murphy was asked if his plan would face similar legal battles.
A federal judge ruled the Arizona law unconstitutional, a decision that is being appealed.
Murphy said his “legislation will stand up to any challenges that might be presented if we were challenged in a federal court.”
He described the problem with illegal immigration as largely financial.
“It is to try to discourage illegal aliens from coming into Georgia, taking jobs from Georgians and ... costing our health care system, costing our education system, costing taxpayers of Georgia,” he said.