Georgia Governor Nathan Deal [official website] signed into law on Friday an "Arizona style" anti-illegal immigration bill [HB 87 text] that allows law enforcement officers to ask about immigration status when questioning suspects in criminal investigations. The law also imposes fines and prison sentences of up to one year for anyone who knowingly transports illegal immigrants during the commission of a crime, and requires businesses to use the federal E-Verify [official website] system to check the immigration status of potential employees, providing that workers convicted of using fake identification to gain employment could face up to 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. One report described the measure as one of the toughest anti-illegal immigration measures [CNN report] enacted by an individual state. In addition to demonstrations outside the capitol, the legislation has drawn threats of both lawsuits and boycotts, as did similar recent anti-illegal measures in other states.
The Georgia General Assembly [official website] approved the bill [JURIST report] in April. Several other state legislatures have also acted recently to implement so-called "Arizona style" immigration laws. Last month, the Indiana House of Representatives [official website] approved legislation [JURIST report] to revoke tax credits from businesses that hire illegal immigrants and require the use of the E-verify system to check the eligibility status of employees. Legislation similar to Georgia's has also been approved in Alabama, Virginia and Oklahoma [JURIST reports]. Arizona's law is currently enjoined, and Governor Jan Brewer has pledged to appeal to the US Supreme Court [JURIST reports].