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February 3--  Sen. Jack Murphy (R-Cumming) today held a press conference to mark the filing of SB 40, an immigration reform bill to enhance the use of the federal E-Verify system and to allow local and state law enforcement officers to help federal authorities identify illegal immigrants in Georgia.

Specific portions of this bill include:

  • Increased punishments on contractors who work on state projects but do not use the federal E-Verify system to ensure their employees are legal to work in the United States
  • A mandate that subcontractors must use E-Verify as well.
  • Increased punishment for public agencies that ignore the law requiring them to ensure their contractors and subcontractor use E-Verify.
  • A mandate that private businesses use E-Verify.
  • Authorizes law enforcement officers to ask for immigration documents from a person who was stopped for probable cause of a crime. (Federal rules already require immigrants under visa to carry the documents with them).
  • Authorizes law enforcement to verify citizenship or legal immigration status by asking for government identification such as a driver’s license.
  • Authorizes law enforcement to turn over suspected illegal aliens to federal authorities.
  • Specifically states that race or country of origin cannot be used to determine if someone is in the United States illegally.

Sen. Murphy said the main portions of this bill are intended to help businesses and state agencies determine that people working for them are not in the country illegally. Many businesses perform drug tests or other verification procedures on their employees. E-Verify requires a simple computer check and is much less time consuming and invasive than many procedures businesses already use.

“I do not want to promote any law that would be a hindrance to businesses,” Sen. Murphy said. “The purpose of this bill is to restrict the massive influx of illegal immigrants into Georgia. This is about stopping illegal workers from taking Georgia jobs and stopping their financial drain on our education, health and public-safety systems.”

Sen. Murphy pointed out that the bill would not apply to any person or company that has filed an H-1 or H-2 application with the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Many industries in Georgia rely on temporary foreign workers,” Sen. Murphy said. “H-1 and H-2 applications allow businesses to hire temporary foreign workers, including restaurant workers, hotel workers, nurses, agricultural workers and various specialty employees. Although we want these businesses to stay within the law, we do not want to hinder their businesses by making them use E-Verify when they are already taking steps to ensure their employees are legal.”