Sen. Sam Zamarripa, D-Atlanta, encouraged Georgians to initiate a dialogue about immigration and the undocumented workers that are often welcome in the state, but are exploited in certain industries, during an address to the Mexican American Business Chamber last week. 

He said that discussion and resolution of such issues is important to Georgia’s continued economic relationship with Latin American countries, and Mexico in particular.

Mr. Zamarripa called upon the Hispanic business community to be “ambassadors” in educating Georgians about the benefits of immigrant labor and stressing the economic importance of resolving immigration issues, including the issuance of foreign workers visas and driver’s licenses, at the state level.

“Some would say that immigration is a national issue, which means simply that they’re not willing to do anything about it,” Mr. Zamarripa said. “Okay, [immigration status] is an issue to be addressed at the federal level, but in the meantime, let’s do something to protect our roads and our public safety in Georgia,” he added, calling on Hispanic businesspersons to contact their state representatives to encourage pro-immigrant legislation.

Mr. Zamarripa has been a proponent of state legislation that would permit all drivers on Georgia roads, including undocumented workers, to obtain driver’s licenses.

“My message to our community is that our [undocumented immigrant] people are not a security threat; in fact, we are part of the economic security of this country and this state,” he said, noting that Georgia’s public safety, security and economic viability would be improved by granting driver’s licenses to immigrants. “The future of the Americas is more open borders; America Latina is not a threat to the U.S.”

Mr. Zamarripa is Georgia’s first Hispanic state senator. Two Hispanics, David Casas, R-Lilburn, and Pedro Marin, D-Duluth, are state representatives.

Contact Mr. Zamarripa at (404) 419-0108 or visit for more information.