Republican and Democratic legislators in Georgia are trying to block good-government legislation that would help Georgia voters learn the number of criminal illegal aliens in their state.
The draft legislation would require state officials to provide quarterly reports on the number of deportable illegal migrants and of non-citizens who are held in detention. But it must pass the Georgia House’s rules committee and the House floor before midnight March 7.
The bill, HB 202, was promoted in a February 28 hearing by GOP state Rep. Jesse Petrea. But the GOP chairman of the rules committee quickly signaled his opposition to the legislation. “Why do we need this?” chairman Jay Powell challenged Petrea.
In response, Petrea criticized “the inability by both parties in Congress to do anything to deal with this [illegal migration] problem,” adding:
What we can do is make the people we represent recognize the degree to which the issue impacts their lives daily … There are 1,505 violent and sex offenders in Georgia correctional facilities [on the list] who murdered, raped, killed, kidnapped, child-molested Georgia citizens … So the people can look at that list and have complete transparency and they can say “That is a big deal,” or they may say “That is not a big deal.” But right now, that data is not available to them … All I want is for that data to be transparent and posted on the web site. And the people can make up their own minds.
“1,505 inmates is a lot of money on our budget and it is a lot of human tragedy,” Petrea added.
Three Democrats joined in opposition to the bill.
Rep. Robert Trammell suggested the release of the statistics would “inflame public opinion against a group based on their citizenship or non-citizenship status.”
Rep. Al Williams said the local sheriffs have not complained about a lack of the information. “The question cries out for why we need this legislation.”
Petrea responded by saying the sheriffs “are already getting this information … Do you believe the people of Georgia have a right to see this aggregated data? It is really that simple.”
Democratic Rep. William Boddie then suggested the release of the information might spark “race riots.” He said: “Do you realize that by publishing this on the website that this could inflame inmates and possibly cause race riots inside of our Georgia penal institutes?”
“That is the most absurd question I’ve heard, ” Patrea responded. “The only singular thing you can find in this population is they are here illegally … This bill is about public safety. These individuals are here illegally and then subsequently committed a violent crime on Georgia citizens. That is the only thing singular about them.”
GOP Rep. Trey Kelly then backed Petrea by spotlighting the importance of transparency, the crimes committed by the illegal aliens, and the reality that the bill does not sort people by racial status. “You have never interjected race into this conversation — that was done by the minority party,” he told Petrea.
“Right now the Republican-run House Rules Committee is standing in the way of Georgians being allowed to see official statistics on the cost of incarceration related to immigration,” said D.A. King, an immigration reformer and the founder of the Dustin Inman Society. He said:
The last thing the establishment GOP, which runs Georgia, wants is to let out any details of the real cost of black market labor in “Big Ag” Georgia. If this transparency legislation gets to the House floor, it would likely become law. Having been alerted to the bill and to the establishment opposition, a lot of Republicans voters are extremely unhappy.
The new governor has not taken action on illegal immigration despite his campaign promises, said King. “This would be an ideal time for Governor [Brian] Kemp to speak up in favor of transparency about the cost of illegal immigration,” said King.
A July 2018 report by the left-leaning Georgia Budget and Policy Institute showed that were almost 700,000 legal immigrants and almost 400,000 illegal migrants in the state during 2016. Many of the illegal aliens moved into Georgia to work in the state’s agriculture industry. The industry protects the migrants from political pressure, and in exchange, most of the migrants’ children eventually become adults and will vote against the GOP.
The state also includes many Democratic-leaning voters who have been pushed out of New York, California, and other states by the economic pressure for lower-wage legal and illegal migrants.
In November 2018, the state’s poverty helped to spike Democratic turnout and almost ended the GOP’s dominance in the Peach State.
The GOP gubernatorial candidate squeaked by with just 50.2 percent of the vote.
Democrat Stacey Abrams won 65 percent of voters who earn $30,000 or less, 84 percent of the non-white vote, and 54 percent of the college-credential vote.
GOP candidate Kemp scraped by, winning 74 percent of the white vote, 54 percent of the non-college vote, and 37 percent of the Latino vote.
Abrams is likely to do even better in four years, partly because the GOP voters are older. In November, Abrams won 60 percent of the votes from people aged 44 and under.
The rising tide of Democrat voters won 11 House seats in 2018 and may win a majority in 2020. Democratic legislators now hold 75 seats in the 180-seat House, up from 64 seats before the elections.