Republican candidate Nathan Deal said today that he would as governor support legislation that mirrors Arizona’s new immigration policies.
“I agree with the Arizona governor and Legislature that the federal government has failed miserably at protecting our borders and enacting sensible solutions that would protect our states, counties and cities from bearing the enormous costs associated with illegal immigration, from emergency room visits to public schools to the criminal justice system,” said Nathan Deal. “As governor of Georgia, I’d work to pass and sign similar legislation.”
Deal, a former congressman from Georgia’s 9th Congressional District, led the fight against illegal immigration in the U.S. House and authored the health care amendment that prevents illegal immigrants from signing up for coverage through Obamacare. He also authored legislation that would end birthright citizenship to babies born in the United States to parents in the United States illegally, and he put into law in 2005 language that for the first time required proof of identity and citizenship to gain Medicaid benefits. His legislative leadership earned him the highest ratings from FAIR and NumbersUSA, groups that support legislation for cracking down on illegal immigration.
“The new Arizona law is called ‘controversial’ but 70 percent of Arizonans approve of it,” Deal said. “I think there would be similar support in Georgia for such legislation. Our public services are stretched beyond their limits during these tough economic times, and our open borders result in our states and counties importing poverty. Local taxpayers foot the bill for these significant additional costs. We have a national immigration system that imposes high hurdles for the highly skilled workers we need yet looks the other way on those who enter the country against the law. We need a guest worker program that’s both accountable and enforceable, but without granting a path to amnesty.
“It’s perfectly appropriate for state laws to complement federal laws. States are within their 10th Amendment powers to draft laws that deal with a huge, dangerous problem.
“States along the southern border have faced war-like conditions triggered by the violence of drug cartels,” Deal continued. “What we’ve seen historically in Georgia is that problems trickling over the border eventually flood over the border and strongly affect our state. Georgia has led where the federal government has failed by requiring immigration status verification for some public services and for those convicted of crimes. When I’m governor, I’ll continue the fight to use our state’s constitutional powers to enforce the rule of law. New immigrants have forever been an important part of our American culture, but our system must be orderly, sustainable and in accordance with the rule of law. That’s not happening now, so states are forced to take the needed steps on their own.
“As governor, I’ll encourage Georgia’s participation in the federal 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement officers to work hand in hand with federal officials to enforce immigration laws.”