On October 13th, 2010, the Georgia Board of Regents voted to ban undocumented students from Georgia’s top five competitive universities. The board launched an investigation inquiring the number of undocumented students within the university system, if undocumented students received in-state tuition, and if undocumented students displaced academically qualified residents. The Board determined that among the 310,000 students that only 501 undocumented students (all paying out-of-state tuition) were registered within the university system. Following their findings, The Board voted for a four step policy change to verify residency of all applicants.
- The addition of language on all applications that outlines the legal penalties for “false swearing,” or knowingly providing incorrect information on the forms. USG officials indicate this will better educate individuals about the process of applying to college.
- The addition of language on all applications that, for the first time, will require applicants to state whether they are seeking in-state tuition. This will help institutions in making a decision on whether or not additional residency verification is necessary.
- A policy requirement that USG institutions verify the lawful presence in the United States of any applicant that is admitted. Students who note they are seeking in-state tuition will, if not applying for federal financial aid (which has its own stringent verification processes), be subject to additional verification by the institution.
- A policy that any person not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible for admission to any USG institution which, for the two most recent academic years, did not admit all academically qualified applicants
-Information from The University System of Georgia
Having passed the General Assembly minutes before the end of the Legislative Session, and signed weeks after by Gov. Nathan Deal, HB-87 is one of the toughest crackdowns on Undocumented Immigration in the country. HB-87 was challenged in court and was issued a preliminary injunction on June 27, 2011, blocking some parts of the law. The law went into effect as expected on July 1, 2011.
Parts of HB-87 that went into effect on July 1, 2011:
- Under HB-87 it is a crime to get a job with false documents, whether the information corresponds to a real person or not. Labeled as “aggravated identity fraud,” it is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines,
- The use of E-Verify, a federal database used to determine workers’ eligibility to work legally in the U.S., is mandatory from all private-sector businesses the day the law goes into effect. All contractors, sub-contractors, and sub-subcontractors must use E-Verify and provide an affidavit to that effect. The self-employed that have no employees must certify that and send a copy of their driver’s license or other ID Georgia accepts.
- All employers of ten or more persons will also have to use E-Verify to get or renew business licenses and permits. The law goes into effect in stages, depending on the size of the business. For the largest, it goes into effect Jan1, 2012; for the smallest, July 1, 2013.
- HB-87 imposes new bureaucratic procedures and paperwork. There are new civil and even criminal penalties for government bodies and employees that don’t comply. Any voter is empowered to file a complaint with a new board to be appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House which will investigate complaints, order corrective action, and even fine employees and their departments.
- All existing restrictions in state and local services remain in place. The requirements for verifying the legal status of clients and compliance by government offices are tightened. Only “secure and verifiable” identification is accepted and required. The list of “secure and verifiable identification” is as follows:
2) A valid Georgia Identification Card;
3) A valid DL from another state or district that checks immigration status (New Mexico and Washington do not check status), or a valid ID from the federal government;
4) A valid DL from your home country + a valid international driving permit if that driver‟s license is not in English;
5) A US passport or valid I-94 document/foreign passport; or
6) Other ID that a police officer deems is “sufficient.” However, officers will not accept Matricula Consular de Seguridad, consular matriculation or identification cards issued by a foreign government.
Parts of HB-87 that did not go into effect:
- Randomly having your immigration status checked or asked by a police officer.
- Police ARE NOT authorized to ask for immigration status, unless it is someone who an officer considers a suspect, they can be asked for papers, and if the person can’t produce a driver’s license or other acceptable document, then the officer is authorized to investigate whether the person is out of status, and if so to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement and take whatever other action state or federal law permits.
- People with status, who knowingly TRANSPORT or HARBOUR undocumented immigrants in the state, or INCITE undocumented immigrants to come to the state would be penalized. If the violation involves more than seven undocumented immigrants, or if it was done for money, then it’s a felony punishable by 5 years imprisonment and fines of up to $20,000. Otherwise it is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Preliminary Injunction
- The 287(g) program - One of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) top partnership initiatives, allows a state and local law enforcement entity to enter into a partnership with ICE, under a joint Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), in order to receive delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions. The 287(g) program turns local law enforcement into federal immigration agents and anyone detained in a 287(g) county is subject to deportation if undocumented in the country. Currently 287(g) is in place in Cobb, Gwinnett, Hall, and Whitfield counties.
- Secure Communities (S-COMM) - Through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice, Secure Communities enhances fingerprint-based biometric technology used by local law enforcement agencies during their booking process. This enhanced technology enables fingerprints submitted during the booking process to be checked against FBI criminal history records and DHS records, including immigration status, providing valuable information to accurately identify those in custody. This process applies to all individuals arrested and booked into custody, not just those suspected of being foreign nationals. DHS is on track to expand this program to all law enforcement jurisdictions nationwide by 2013. S-COMM has come under significant controversy due to its monumental flaws, as 287(g), at achieving its intended purpose: “deport the worst of the worst” Instead, over 50% of those deported under this program are low-level offenders or people with no record at all. S-COMM is currently in place in: Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chatham, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Colquitt, Coweta, DeKalb, Dougherty, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Glynn, Gordon, Grady, Gwinnett, Hall, Habersham, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jeff Davis, Lowndes, Monroe, Murray, Muscogee, Newton, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Walker, Walton, and Whitfield counties.