Georgia Lawmakers Face Immigration Issues

By: Adam Vasallo
By: Adam Vasallo

It's been six years since Virginia Sanchez came to America seeking a better life for herself and for her son, and she's worked many jobs during that time to do so.

Through the voice of a translator, Mexican immigrant Virginia Sanchez says, "I've worked as a housekeeper, in landscape, making desserts, in factories, making boxes."

Sanchez says she supports providing immigrants with some form of ID, a measure kicked around by many Georgia lawmakers, but says there would be drawbacks in doing so throughout the migrant community.

Sanchez adds, "It's necessary, indispensable for everything, for work, school, services, utilities. But how much do we expose ourselves? How far do we go without people asking our legal status? You're not legal, then you go back to your country."

With the upcoming session just weeks away, some state legislators say the topic of illegal immigrants will receive a lot of attention, but some lawmakers warn the solutions won't be simple.

Rep. Mike Keown, (R) Coolidge, GA, says, "My heart asks the question, what do you do when a Hispanic child shows up needing emergency medical care? Who's going to be the one to stand there and say this child isn't going to get any care?"

Rep. Keown says though many Georgia industries such as agriculture rely on migrant labor, he'd like to see them drop their "illegal" status.

Keown adds, "If we need these folks and we want them to be here and they want to be here, then we need to figure out a way to make them legal."

It’s just one possible solution in this emotional Peach State issue that's sure to be the topic of plenty of debates among state lawmakers in the coming months.

Georgia's upcoming 2006 legislative session will get underway January 9.


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