Legal Topic: Immigration
Since 2007, Georgia has mandated that counties comply with several state and federal immigration laws. These requirements have been significantly expanded over the years, most recently with the passage of HB 87 during the 2011 legislative session. To assist with these requirements, ACCG has compiled a number of resources for counties to use in order to stay compliant.
Main Legal Authority
O.C.G.A. § 13-10-90,91
O.C.G.A. § 36-60-6
O.C.G.A. § 50-36-1 through 50-36-3
8 U.S.C. Section 1621
8 U.S.C. Section 1611
Georgia counties are required to verify the status of anyone who applies for a public benefit through the county. The benefit may be paid through federal, state or local funds or be administered through a federal, state or local program. Benefits are defined by state statute, O.C.G.A. § 50-36-1, by federal statute, 8 U.S.C. 1611 and 8 U.S.C. 1621, and by the Office of the Attorney General. ACCG in partnership with GMA also created a list of common benefits that counties and cities may have. These benefits are listed as part of the ACCG-GMA checklist that is provided to DHS as part of the SAVE registration.
There are several affidavits that counties need to use in order to stay in compliance with Georgia immigration requirements.
Counties that enter into a contract for the physical performance of services with a contractor must require the contractor to sign and submit an E-Verify Contractor Affidavit unless the contractor has no employees. In this case, the contractor is required to show a drivers license or identification cardfrom a state that has been approved by the Office of the Attorney General. If that contractor hires subcontractors, then the contractor must require the subcontractor to sign and submit an E-Verify Subcontractor Affidavit to him or her. If the subcontractor hires sub-subcontractors, then the subcontractor must require the subcontractor to sign and submit an E-Verify Sub-Subcontractor Affidavit to him or her. The county is only responsible for the E-Verify Contractor Affidavit.
The Attorney General'sOffice has advised state agencies that contracts for the physical performance of services should be applied to contracts forpublic works and the maintenance, operation and repair of buildings or structures. They have further spoke to this issue through correspondence with state and county officials and staff.
Private Employer E-Verify Affidavits
Beginning on January 1, 2012, private employers with more than 500 employees seeking an occupation tax certificate (business license) or any other document required to operate a business with the county will be required to register for and use E-Verify and to sign an E-Verify Affidavit for Private Employers, or if they are exempt, they must sign an Exemption Affidavit for Private Employers. Private employers with more than 100 employees must be registered beginning on July 1, 2012 and employers with more than 10 employees must be registered beginning on July 1, 2013. If any employer has less than 11 employees, they are exempt from this requirement, but must complete an affidavit attesting that they are exempt. ACCG and GMA created a joint private employer and exemption affidavit for local government use to avoid confusion in relation to the phase in of this requirement.
O.C.G.A. § 50-36-1 requires anyone seeking a public benefit from a county must first complete aSAVE Affidavit. If the applicant is not a U.S. citizen, than the county is required to process them through the SAVE program to verify their status.
Approved Secured and Verifiable Identification Information
O.C.G.A. § 50-36-1 and O.C.G.A. § 50-36-2 requires any person seeking a public benefit or anything else through the county for which identification is required, to show a secure and verifiable document. Acceptable documents have been identified by the Office of the Attorney General. A county may not accept a Matricula Consular de Alta Seguridad, matricula consular card, consular matriculation card, consular identification card, or similar identification card for this purpose.
Immigration Enforcement Review Board
An Immigration Enforcement Review Board (IERB) was created to hear complaints regarding state and local government agency immigration law violations. The IERB has established rules for their operation as well as methods and grounds for filing a complaint. All meetings of the IERB are open to the public and notices are provided through the Department of Audits and Accounts website.