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In the wake of pressure from immigration reduction activist D.A. King and NumbersUSA members, Cobb County, Georgia will begin checking the immigration status of every applicant for a business license. As of July 1, 2007, Georgia law required all local governments to use certain federal tools to determine the eligibility of applicants for "public benefits" such as business licenses. However, Cobb County is the first local government in the state to commit to do so, the Marietta Daily Journal reports

The Georgia law was intended to force Georgia cities and counties to use the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements system to help insure that taxpayer-funded jobs and public benefits go only to those who are eligible. Mr. King, the president of the Dustin Inmann Society, discovered that only two out of Georgia's 535 cities and one of its 159 counties had enrolled in that system as of last month. Moreover, those that did were not correctly using it to screen applicants for one particular "public benefit" – commercial (business) licenses. Instead, many local governments had re-defined business licenses as "occupational tax certificates," a term not defined as a public benefit under the law, in an effort to evade compliance.

The law also requires all public employers and most of their contractors to use E-Verify to check the eligibility of newly hired employees to work in the United States. At last check in late April, less than 25% of Georgia's municipalities and just over half of Georgia's counties were in compliance on this part of the law by using E-Verify.

In light of these troubling statistics, Mr. King started a campaign in early July to convince Georgia local governments to come into compliance. He filed a civil suit seeking to force Cobb County to verify all business license applications and enlisted the help of NumbersUSA, which asked its members to encourage all local governments in Georgia to come into compliance. Cobb County was the first jurisdiction to come in line several weeks later. Mr. King says he is confident the cities in Cobb will now begin to follow the law, the Journal reports.

In a subsequent editorial, the Journal said:

There's no question that Cobb County residents want the laws enforced. That's especially true these days when it comes to the laws pertaining to illegal immigration….The county's position was illogical, in that if it is a violation of federal law for an employer to hire an illegal, how could it be legal for a county to grant illegals a license (or certificate) to open a business?...(T)he combination of better border enforcement, the heightened enforcement of existing laws and the strengthening of some of those laws, will go far toward slowing the flow of illegals into our country. And it would provide incentive for those already here to go back from whence they came.
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