Individuals and companies interested in learning about immigration laws and practices that affect Georgia and who want to support the provision of services for undocumented immigrants can contact the Coalition for a New Georgia, a nonprofit organization that has been formed to disseminate information about immigration.
The coalition is holding town hall meetings throughout the state to discuss the impact on Georgia and the nation of immigration, immigration reform and House Resolution 256.
HR-256, which was introduced but not debated in the 2005 Georgia General Assembly, calls for a state constitutional ban on providing public services, including K-12 public and postsecondary state educational institutions, to undocumented immigrants.
The legislation may be reconsidered by the General Assembly during the 2006 state legislative session.
Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, told GlobalAtlanta that HR 256 would be detrimental to Georgia’s international business development.
“I think HR-256 will send the wrong message to our international partners in Latin America…[HR-256] is bad public relations when we are trying to paint an inclusive and inviting city and state to be able to host the Secretariat for the Free Trade Area of the Americas,” Mr. Gonzalez said.
“Also, with the passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, we need to continue to move forward with free trade discussions in Georgia… These proposed statewide initiatives [like HR-256] will not solve the issue of a failed federal immigration system,” he added.
The Coalition for a New Georgia includes, among others, the African Human Rights Coalition, Atlanta Jobs for Justice Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, Coordinating Council of Latino Community Leaders in Atlanta, Dialogo Latino Inc., GALEO, Georgia Rural Urban Summit, Latin American and Caribbean Community Center and Women Watch Afrika Inc.
Georgia organizations including Brazil Atlanta, Hispanic Concerns Committee of Athens and the International Center of Atlanta have lent their support to a “No on HR-256” campaign. The campaign drafted a letter opposing the legislation that can be viewed at http://www.galeo.org/story.php?story_id=0000000135.
Coalition for a New Georgia meetings are to be held in DeKalb County in September (date to be determined), Savannah on Thursday, Sept. 29, Athens on Monday, Oct. 10, Gwinnett County in October, Cobb County in November, Fulton County in January and Calhoun and Augusta on dates to be determined.
For more information or to join the coalition, contact Mr. Gonzalez at (404) 745-2580 or email@example.com. Visit www.galeo.org