The legislature in the state of Georgia, which is controlled by the Republican Party, is again taking on illegal immigration. This time it’s in the middle of the heated Presidential candidate nomination campaign that has seen the issue take center stage thanks to controversial real estate mogul, Donald Trump.
All 236 state lawmakers are up for re-election this year and the Senate in Georgia has decided to approve measures to try to crack down on the sanctuary cities that defy federal immigration authorities, and to put new restrictions on the driver’s licenses that are given to undocumented immigrants. A proposed state constitutional amendment was passed by the Senate on Monday that declares the official language of Georgia to be English and the House of Representatives last week advanced a bill to ban undocumented immigrants from being able to serve on local boards, commissions and councils.
New attention has been drawn to the issue, causing a flurry of new bills – many of which have been introduced in previous years – due to immigration becoming such a talking point in the wake of the campaign conducted by Trump. Georgia Republicans in both the Senate and the House are divided on the bills, which have drawn criticism from advocacy groups, including the Fulton County Commission.
However, proponents of the measure claim the measures are needed to drive out undocumented immigrants and protect the taxpayer-funded resources of Georgia, as well as helping with preventing voter fraud and bolstering public safety.