Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Immigration compliance in Fayette County

A friend of mine who lives in Gwinnett, works for organization relating to media, sent me this. Anyone heard anything from our local government about this issue?


Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister has directed County government to beef up its compliance with the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act (SB 529), which took effect 13 months ago. In short, state law requires public employers to verify the immigration status of applicants for public benefits. Gwinnett County administers a relatively small number of the dozens of possible public benefits as defined by federal law. ”I feel strongly that tax dollars should be administered not only according to the letter of the law, but to the full spirit and intent of the law,” said Bannister.

Under the act, effective July 1, 2008, Georgia public employers of 100 or more employees must verify information on all new employees using the federal online E-Verify system. Gwinnett County has been using the program since July 1, 2007, to confirm information submitted by potential new hires and required its contractors and subcontractors to do so as well. Gwinnett County is also in the process of verifying information on applicants for housing assistance from the Community Block Grant Development Program through the federal online SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) Program.

“While Gwinnett is already using SAVE for specifically-mandated purposes, I would like to extend its use to similar applications, such as occupation tax certificates, “said Bannister. “We have been a leader in the state with the revision of our purchasing ordinance to require contractors to also employ the SAVE program, but it’s time to redouble our efforts to ensure our community’s continued security.”

Gwinnett County will review the list of public benefits to determine what applies within its jurisdiction and create further policies or adjust procedures as necessary to maximize conformity with the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act. Bannister has instructed County staff to complete any needed adjustments to fully comply with the program by Sept. 1.

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