Activist to speak about House Bill 87

Photo by Mark Lammers

Photo by Mark Lammers

CONYERS -- D.A. King, president of the Dustin Inman Society, will be the featured speaker at this month's South Rockdale Civic Association to discuss Georgia's recently adopted illegal immigration enforcement law established by state House Bill 87.

The SRCA meeting will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at Union United Methodist Church, located at the corner of Ga. Highway 138 and Union Church Road in south Rockdale County.

Refreshments and visiting begin at 7 p.m. and the actual program begins at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

King advocates enforcement of current immigration laws and has made several appearances on national media on the topic. The Dustin Inman Society is named for a teenager who died in a 2000 car accident in Ellijay involving an illegal resident.

SRCA President Don Meyer said King's appearance should be of interest to anyone with a concern over state and federal policies against illegal immigration. Meyer said King will specifically discuss HB 87 and the impact it is having on communities in Georgia.

"This is a chance to get residents aware of the good this law can do for the community and what they can do to help enforce the law," Meyer said. "The impact of illegal immigration can be seen right here in Rockdale County. There are too many children in our school system who are undocumented and from our recent talk with Deborah Armstrong (CEO of Rockdale Medical Center) the growing costs of indigent care at the emergency room is a continuing challenge."

HB 87 is described as a tough illegal immigration law that penalizes people who use fake identification to get jobs in Georgia and requires many employers to use a federal work authorization program called E-Verify. That program helps employers ensure their new hires are eligible to work in the United States.

In June, a federal judge temporarily put other parts of the law on hold after civil and immigrant rights groups challenged their constitutionality. One of the halted provisions would punish people who harbor illegal immigrants. The other would empower police to investigate the immigration status of certain suspects.

Opponents have argued HB 87 could possibly stifle the state's economy. The Georgia Restaurant Association expressed growing concerns from its members that the law would create additional costs for small businesses and possibly trigger boycotts against Georgia.

Farmers in South Georgia have expressed similar concerns over the law, too.

Karen Bremer, GRA executive director, said her group does not support illegal immigration and commends efforts to address the problem. In a statement, Bremer said she hoped the federal court action against the law will allow business and government leaders to work out a solution.

"The harsh reality is that our nation's recession has harmed so many people and businesses," said Bremer. "That's why we are grateful for the provisions of this legislation that have been stayed. As it was written, it would have unjustly punished our small businesses, local municipalities and communities for the failure of a federal policy."