Georgia lawmakers have moved one step closer to passing legislation that targets illegal immigration in the workplace.
According to The Associated Press, a House legislative committee passed a bill on Feb. 28 that would crack down on undocumented workers. The law, if approved, would require all employers in Georgia with more than four employees to verify the legal status of new hires. In addition, individuals who attempt to present false documentation when applying for a job would face felony charges under the new mandate.
The media outlet reported that the bill now moves to the House Rules committee, which will decide if and when the entire chamber can vote on the measure. State Representative Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) said that he hopes the vote will take place this week.
Some proponents of immigration reform are concerned that first-term Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, is backing off his promise to bring an Arizona-style law to Georgia. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Deal has urged lawmakers to be cautious about certain immigration laws because they don't want to put an "undue burden" on employers who would have to abide by a new set of requirements.
Deal's camp claims that the governor is still a strong opponent of illegal immigration, and he's simply urging the legislature to consider the economic repercussions of their reform measures.
"There is no governor in the country with a stronger record on fighting illegal immigration than Governor Nathan Deal. We will put his record up against anybody’s,” Brian Robinson, Deal's spokesman, told the news provider.