Challenging HB 1105: Protecting Immigrant Communities in Georgia

By Jean-Luc Rivera and Gigi Pedraza

One in ten Georgia residents, 1,100,000 people, is an immigrant, and over 700,000 US born Georgians have at least one immigrant parent (American Immigration Council, 2024). 

For immigrants and immigrant families that call Georgia their home, this year in particular has been an attack on their existence and their wellbeing. Despicable rhetoric, disinformation, the passage and signing of HB 1105 by Governor Kemp into law, and the recent executive order from President Biden that limits the legal right of individuals crossing at the southern border to request asylum are all actions that have made it clear that immigrants are on the political chopping block and are the first to be used for political gain. 

In an era where globalization has brought the world closer together, the resurgence of anti-immigrant sentiment and legislation is a troubling development. Anti-immigrant laws, often framed as necessary measures for protecting national security and preserving economic stability, in reality, undermine the very values that our nation was built upon. These laws not only perpetuate discrimination and inequality but also stunt economic growth and social cohesion. We shouldn’t have to list the reasons why we oppose anti-immigrant legislation and advocate for more inclusive and humane immigration policies as well as their ties to the increased need for workers across sectors and industries, but yet here we are.

Anti-immigrant policies like HB 1105 frequently lead to the marginalization and dehumanization of individuals who seek better lives for themselves and their families. These laws can result in at best, confusion and living in fear; at worst, families being torn apart, individuals being denied asylum, or deported to dangerous environments. Entire communities living in fear of persecution. 

From a moral and ethical standpoint, it is important to remember that behind every immigration statistic is a human being with hopes, dreams, and a desire for safety and opportunity. Compassion and empathy should guide our policies, recognizing the shared humanity that binds us all.

Immigrants are much more than just a number, but it should be stated that immigrants make significant economic contributions to our country. They often fill essential roles in various industries, such as the agricultural, construction, and manufacturing industries here in Georgia. 

They bring diverse skill sets, drive innovation, and start new businesses at higher rates than native-born citizens. Immigrants make up 14.3 percent of Georgia’s labor force and bolster the state’s economy in many ways, including accounting for 20.7 percent of entrepreneurs (American Immigration Council, 2024). Research consistently shows that immigrants contribute more in taxes than they receive in benefits, helping to sustain public services and social security systems. Restricting immigration not only limits this economic boost but also stifles overall growth and prosperity.

Embracing immigrants and offering them the chance to succeed enriches us all – building a future where every individual, regardless of their origin, can contribute to and benefit from the collective good. It is time to reject divisive and discriminatory legislation and instead champion policies that reflect our highest values and aspirations.

As we move forward, we are working with legal experts and civil rights attorneys to provide both communities and localities with recommendations and guidance on how to meet the law, learn and affirm our rights, and be prepared in case of harmful implementation.


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