April 25-- State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia sat on the House committee which studied illegal immigration in Georgia for a year before the reform measure passed the state legislature earlier this month.
Even though he represents a rural farming district which depends primarily on alien workers for labor, Representative Morris says he was never pressured to vote against the bill.
"All the farmers in my area have asked is, 'help us do the right thing to comply with the law.' I was not encouraged in any way by anybody in the agricultural industry in our area to go light on illegal immigration. Theu jsut want a workable program so they can bring workers in to harvest the crop and then go back from whence they came."
The new law will require employers with more than ten employees to use the government's online system to verify the immigration status of workers.
Morris believes it will withstand the inevitable court challenge, "A bill is no good if the courts are going to strike it down. I really believe other states were watching our process and I think more states want to adopt laws closer to ours to bring gradual phase-in of some of the requirements for employers. I think it's going to wind up being a model," he says.
"It's an issue the federal government doesn't have the guts to deal with, but the people I represent are tired of paying for people who are in this country illegally," Morris noted.
"Most people are not opposed to people coming to this country to work. They're opposed to somebody coming here to work and then wind up on social programs that cost taxpayers money and trap the person into this welfare dependency that so many people in this country are in, that's what people are opposed to," Morris believes.
The new Georgia immigration law will take effect once signed by Governor Nathan Deal.