The Georgia Legislature cleared for Gov. Nathan Deal’s consideration SB 160, a bill that closes a number of unintended loopholes in the state’s 2011 immigration-enforcement law. Rep. Dustin Hightower, who sponsored related House legislation, said SB 160 “goes a long way in protecting the taxpayers of Georgia by filling a lot of loopholes that were there where illegal immigrants were taking advantage of different public benefits.”

SB 160 closes a loophole that allowed illegal aliens to use passports they acquired after illegal entry for “secure and verifiable” ID purposes under the law. This made them appear to be “documented” and opened access to benefits the law denied.

In addition, the bill adds driver’s licenses, grants, public housing and retirement benefits to the list of “public benefits” under state law. In an effort to crack down on illegal alien access to public benefits, the 2011 law requires applicants to show “secure and verifiable” ID to prove eligibility.

SB 160 also addressed a problem that had caused a backlog for professional license renewals. It clarifies that applicants for professional licenses and other public benefits are only required to document U.S. citizenship once in the same issuing agency.

Finally, SB 160 extends the state’s E-Verify requirement to all city, county and state government agency contractors. Government agencies with fewer than two employees are now exempt from this requirement.

The House approved SB 160 by a vote of 113-54 while the Senate passed the measure by a 43-9 margin.

Read here for more information.

Interior Enforcement
state policies

Updated: Sat, Mar 30th 2013 @ 8:02am EDT