Mere days after a federal judge upheld a trial judge's ruling that blocked the "most egregious parts" of the Arizona illegal immigration law, Georgia has passed a copy-cat hard-line immigration bill. The state legislature approved a bill that gathers together all the outrage-inducing hallmarks of the Arizona version: requiring businesses to check if their employees are legal and giving police the ability to randomly check the immigration status of suspects.
As The Los Angeles Times observes, the practical implementation of the bill will hinge upon whether the Arizona law will be eventually be found to be constitutional. As for now, it was all smiles for the legislation's author ("It's a great day for Georgia" said Representative Matt Ramsey) and supporters: "We're a law-abiding state," said state Sen. Earl "Buddy" Carter to the newspaper. "And we want people to abide by the laws."
Why would Georgia need a law like this? Politico notes that Georgia has even more illegal immigrants than Arizona. The southern state has an estimated 480,000 illegal immigrants, 20,000 more than the state that gets all the attention for being "tough" on border-crossings. If you look at the Pew Hispanic Center numbers for 2009, in which Arizona is still ahead, you see that a lesser proportion of Georgia's illegal immigrants seem to be coming from Mexico.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.