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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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GA advocates rally against legislation aimed at immigrants

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Friday, March 15, 2024   

Advocates for immigrants gathered at the Georgia State Capitol this week, urging lawmakers to stop legislation they see as potentially harmful.

House Bill 1105 would require local police agencies to inform immigration officials if they suspect someone undocumented has committed a crime. Maria del Rosarios Palacios, executive director of GA Familias Unidas, warned at a Capitol news conference that this type of legislation could heighten discrimination against the immigrant community.

"HB 1105, we have seen it before, legislators," she said. "We have seen these tactics before, and not only have these tactics been used to silence our community for a very long time, now you're using it to defund your own police."

Backers of the legislation have argued that it would reduce crime and protect women, following the tragic death of a Georgia nursing student. However, Palacios said the bill fails to amplify all women's voices and could hinder immigrants from seeking help from the police when they are in danger.

Nazia Khanzada, communications manager for the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR Georgia, also spoke at the Capitol. She underscored the importance of protecting all people, regardless of country of origin, religion or immigration status.

Khanzada mentioned six pieces of legislation, saying some contain confusing terminology.

"Many of the bills that are written define their own definitions of immigration law, instead of referring to definitions already established under federal immigration law," she said. "So it leaves it unclear what immigration status is or is not captured by a bill."

House Bill 1105 has passed in the House and awaits a vote in the Senate. Other measures raising concern include Senate Bill 132, which would prohibit some types of land ownership by what's referred to as "certain nonresident aliens," and Senate Bill 420, which aims to restrict farm property ownership.


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