When the 2018 General Assembly ended last week, pro-enforcement immigration activists and supporters of official English had no reason to celebrate. By my memory, along with 2012, this was one of only two years since 2006 that no legislation was passed to address the fact that Georgia has more illegal aliens than Arizona. “Historic” indeed.
A look back:
Constitutional official English ballot question: Failed.
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that English is the official language of the State of Georgia?”
Despite polling that shows a bipartisan 76% of Georgians favor amending the state constitution to make English the official language of government, voters will not be allowed (again) to decide on the above proposed ballot question in November.
Conservative hero Sen. Josh McKoon’s official English bill, SR587 had a healthy list of co-sponsors and was passed out of the Senate Rules Committee. But it never saw a floor vote.
Smart – and obvious – election year GOP tactics would have been to roll out the legislation, push a floor vote and make it clear all summer that the Democrat “party of the people” would not allow voters to decide on the popular ballot question. But as IAG reported, it seems that at least two Republicans would have been exposed in the process too. No floor vote occurred.
Creating a separate tier of driving and ID credentials for illegal aliens with work permits: Failed
Current administration policy is that “non-citizens without lawful status” are issued the same drivers licenses and official ID Cards as legal immigrants and guest workers with valid, temporary visas. Unlike a growing list of other states (California, Michigan, South Carolina…) that offer options, Georgia has only one tier of these credentials. Georgia’s are issued so as to be accepted as federal ID and are used to access federal buildings, U.S military bases and as valid TSA ID to board airliners.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is quite clear on the status of the illegals with DACA individuals as well as non-DACA illegal aliens with work permits, but the Department of Drivers Services is quietly using the 2005 REAL ID Act language that allows (but does not require) states to issue credentials to these illegal aliens.
McKoon’s well-written remedy, SB 417, died in the Senate Public Safety Committee when two Republicans joined the Democrats in a “no” vote. Later, with only Dalton’s Republican Sen. Chuck Payne voting “no”, the same committee passed out the same language which had been inserted into a House bill. That’s where the new HB258 stopped.
It never came out of Senate Rules. This, despite the fact that an almost identical bill sailed through the GOP senate in 2016 with a 37-17 vote.
The full Senate had a third opportunity to change to driving and ID documents issued to illegal aliens with a floor amendment to the distracted driving bill on Day 39, again offered by McKoon. As IAG reported, that effort failed with eighteen Republicans voting “no” with the Democrats or not voting.
Note: If any reader will kindly point this writer to a mention of any of the above conservative issues in the Republican gubernatorial campaigns, I will happily wash your car.
SB452 -Requiring that captured criminal illegal aliens be reported to federal immigration authorities and tracking the immigration status and number of non-citizens in the state prison system: Failed
SB452 was widely regarded as a centerpiece, check-the-illegal-immigration-box for Lt. Governor Casey Cagle’s campaign for governor. The immigration enforcement bill died in the final hours of session when Republican Speaker David Ralston refused to call it up for a floor vote.
This writer left the Gold Dome about 3:00 PM on Day 40 after being assured by multiple senior and connected members of House leadership that the legislation would pass on a party line vote and that it was a topic of great importance.
Frantic “Dreamer” members of corporate-funded anti-borders groups literally ran around the third floor of the Capitol desperately begging young Republican lawmakers to vote “no” on reducing the population of criminal illegal aliens in Georgia. They had even scrawled in four-foot tall letters “KILL SB 452” on the sidewalk at the bottom of the Capitol Street entrance.
It should be noted that the scouts for the new Amazon headquarters were in the city that day when readers try to understand how and why a Republican state legislature kills a bill aimed solely at criminal illegal aliens…in an election year.
And it should be long remembered.
D.A. King is president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society