Georgia Enacts a Tough Law on Immigrants
ATLANTA, April 17 -- Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a sweeping immigration bill on Monday that supporters and critics say gives Georgia some of the nation's toughest measures against illegal immigrants.
The law requires verification that adults who seek many state-administered benefits are in the United States legally. Employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants face sanctions, and companies with state contracts must check employees' immigration status.
The law also requires that the police check the status of people they arrest.
Many of its provisions will not take effect until July 1, 2007.
The bill drew demonstrators on both sides at the Capitol here and prompted a daylong work stoppage by thousands of immigrants.
The regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Tisha Tallman, said she was studying potential legal challenges.
Governor Perdue, a Republican, said at the signing: "I want to make this clear -- we are not, Georgia's government is not, and this bill is not, anti-immigrant. We simply believe that everyone who lives in our state needs to abide by our laws."
The law will not affect emergency medical care and educational benefits for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Federal courts have said those programs have to be provided regardless of immigration status.
Exemptions were added for other services like prenatal care and the treatment of communicable diseases.
Outside the Capitol, a few hundred supporters of the law applauded loudly when word came that Mr. Perdue was signing the measure.
The crowd waved American flags and cheered as State Representative Melvin Everson, a black Republican in the House, denounced illegal immigration as a cancer.
"The last time I checked," Mr. Everson said, "America was the land of English, not Spanish."
So the bill and the state are by no means "anti-immigrant" but one of the bill's supporters says (illegal) immigration is a "cancer" and that the last time he "checked", America was the land of the King's English, not Espanol.
Wanna know about "Mr. Everson"?
Melvin was born on September 24, 1957 to the late Northern & Willa Everson of Abbeville, Ga. He attended Wilcox High School and graduated in 1975. After high school he attended Albany State University and graduated in 1983 with a BS in Criminology. Melvin married Geraldine M. Everson and they have one son, Ricardo D. Everson who attended South Gwinnett High School and was an honor graduate. He is a recent graduate from UGA with a B.S. degree in social work. He is currently applying for Law School at UGA.
Melvin served 23 years in the military and just recently retired in 1999. He served 5 years on Snellville's Planning Commission before running a successful campaign to become a council member in 2000. He is a charter member of the Snellville Optimist Club, Associate Pastor of Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Lilburn, Ga., and served on the Take Pride in Snellville Committee. Everson served two terms as President of the South Gwinnett High School PTSA and two terms as Vice President.
Melvin was a fifteen-year employee with JCPenney Catalog as a Customer Relations Supervisor until the company ceased its Atlanta operations in July 2003. During fourteen of those years, Melvin served as the United Way Advisory Member for JCPenney for Clayton, Henry and Butts counties, and just recently completed his tenure as the 2003 campaign chair of United Way in Clayton County. Melvin is currently an Associate Pastor at Salem Missionary Baptist Church and a Probation Officer for Professional Probation Services.
So a black Republican in the South who thinks (illegal) immigration is a "cancer" and who says that the last time he "checked" America was the land of the King's English and not Espanol, although the issue of English-Espanol doesn't appear to have been at all relevant to the legislation at hand, also turns out to be an "associate pastor" of a Baptist church.
Charming. Who'd a thunk it? A Christian and a bigot. In a way, the Christian Right is "right"--it's awfully hard being a Christian these days, especially when we're represented by such fine spokesman as Mr. Everson.
You know what the sad thing is? I checked out Everson's bio because the fact that he was a black Republican in the South piqued my curiosity, and made me suspicious that the guy was probably a right-wing evangelical. And how about that? He is.
And while we're on the subject, what sort of pastor is it that doesn't appear to have anything resembling a religious education? I know I probably sound like some sort of snob, but the Bible was written in Hebrew (the O.T.) and Greek (the N.T.) with some Arabic thrown in for good measure. It usually helps if the pastor preaching the Word is familiar with the Biblical languages or at least has some awareness of the basics of theology. Guess that's not a condition for churches these days.
And what's with this guy's resume? He was born in 1957. He served in the military for 23 years. He was an employee at JC Penney for 15 years. I'm having a hard time with the math. He's 49 years old and has apparently worked for 38 years. Maybe that military career was part-time.
Anyway, it's be nice to hear, for once, of a bigot not being connected to Christianity.