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24 January 2009

Tough illegal immigration law ignored

Legislature provided no funds for enforcement; municipalities fail to register for program

By CAMERON McWHIRTER, MARY LOU PICKEL
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A key goal of Georgia’s 2006 law cracking down on illegal immigration was simple and controversial: stop undocumented immigrants from earning wages paid by taxpayers. Supporters heralded the provision as one of the nation’s toughest because it orders local governments, their contractors and subcontractors to confirm the legal status of new hires.

But the provision has amounted to less than proponents hoped and critics feared. No one in state government is enforcing the law. No one at the state level has checked to see whether governments and businesses are complying. And nothing happens to them if they don’t.

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