HB-87...*sigh*...is Georgia's Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act..of 2011. It gets officially put in place July first of this year. Even though A few counties-Gwinnett, Dekalb and Cobb to be exact- have already placed this (crock of shit) pretty much in place and have been effectively pulling people over for ohhh....pretty much anything. "Broken tail light", "burnt out brake light", "failure to yield"...so on and so forth..you get the picture. They basically pull people over (and by people I mean anyone that looks Hispanic/Latino/Asian)...for whatever ridiculous 'offense' they can pull out of their asses so they can then run their name and check if they have a valid license. No license? Step outside of the vehicle. Oh no proof of residence at all? Hands behind your back...off to the local jail for a traffic offense and later onto North Fulton Detention Center in Gainesville and then Stewart Detention Center, located in the middle of nowhere- PAST Columbus, GA..and also a HIGH security establishment. Youuuu got it. The same security measures are taken for this jail that are taken for a jail that houses rapists, murderers, serial killers so on and so forth. Where does the money come from for this? Oh, they're privately funded. With no end in sight.
What are the 'technical' parameters of this whole mess you ask? Under this reform, Georgia companies would be required to use E-Verify, a federal database, to check the documentation of current and prospective employees and it gives police- yep-regular police. Permission to investigate the immigration status of certain 'suspects'. AKA, they can just choose to 'investigate' whoever the hell they want and see if they have papers. Even people who are just walking down the street.
REALLY THO? I THINK THAT'S CALLED TARGETING. YEA...PRETTY SURE IT IS.
What are the effects of this? Individuals living here illegally are terrified. These are people who have built an entire life for themselves in this country. People who wanted a better life, risked their lives to try to get it and actually managed to get it done. Some were brought here as children and have been here for 20-30 years, have paid taxes to THIS state for YEARS...doing jobs that no American is going to run out and volunteer for.. but are now considering getting arrested ON PURPOSE so they can get voluntary departure back to their country and proceed to move their entire family back there with them. This means pulling their children out of the American schools that are all they know, taking them away from any and all friends they have and overall ripping their foundations right out from under them. In the field I work in...one mother said something that will stay with me for awhile. Her husband was detained and going through immigration proceedings. Based on his background, he was eligible for voluntary departure or cancellation of removal (neither of which, by the way, go on your record as deportation). They didn't have the money to hire an attorney for cancellation of removal and since her status was the same as his, there would be a chance she could get deported or placed in immigration proceedings herself. She was terrified for her family, and started to cry. She said to me...
"The most important thing is that our family stay together. I refuse to let our family be torn apart..I don't care if we have to all go back and live off beans, as long as we are together."
It hits you and you think. Wow. Being together means the world to them. THAT is family. THAT is also what these right wing assholes are counting on. If one goes, the whole family will go. This way we can get "them" all out.
Think about what's going on in your state. Know the facts...get a clue. Say something. Learn something.
Know someone in a sitch with immigration or trying to avoid a sitch? There's 3 things they need to do:
1. If they've been here 10 years or more, they should gather proof of such-think bills, contracts, lease agreements, pay stubs, taxes etc. and put them in a safe place where a family member or trusted friend can find them in case of emergency.
2. They should AVOID DRIVING (without a state issued license)
3. They should consult an attorney should something go down-or even if it hasn't yet and they want to get sponsored for a green card etc. How do they know what attorney? Come on now you don't think I'd give the tips without a solution did you? Call G. COOPER & ASSOCIATES, P.C. , located in Norcross. The consultation is free. You have nothing to lose and all the knowledge to gain.
Until next time folks...peace love and equality.