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Georgia’s Strict Immigration Law Affecting DUI Offenders Goes Un-enforced

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The Georgia immigration law from 2006 is going un-enforced.   The immigration law, which was meant to crack down on illegal immigration has been called one of the nation’s toughest because it orders local governments, contractors and subcontractors to confirm the legal status of new hires.  It also has a provision addressing illegal immigrants who have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia.

Based on this 2006 law, illegal immigrants arrested for DUI in Georgia, must be reported to immigration authorities.  However, supporters of this law do not feel confident that this provision is being taken seriously.  Proponents believe that the state government has not been enforcing the law and no one at the state level has checked to see whether governments and businesses are complying.

The DUI arrest provision of the Georgia immigration law, which requires jailers to check the legal status of anyone booked on a felony or a DUI, has had some problems.  For example, someone who has been arrested for DUI in Georgia may post bond to get out of jail before the feds are called to hold that person on immigration violations. 

“There is no state oversight of any of this stuff,” Terry Norris, executive vice president of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association said.

Some believe that this law has not been properly enforced because of a lack of accountability, as the Legislature never provided money to monitor the law.

“As far as any enforcement responsibilities under the law, we don’t have any,” said Labor Department spokesman Sam Hall.

Hall said that the agency offered to conduct random audits, if it received funding.  He even said that the agency posted guidelines on its website.  According to Hall, there is no central agency that has the authority to monitor who is complying with the law.

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