Business owners in Georgia are protesting a bill that has been passed by the state legislature and that the governor has pledged to sign on the grounds that it will make it more difficult for them to find qualified workers.
According to The Associated Press, the bill requires employers to check that anyone they hire is in the country legally, and allows police officers to check someone’s immigration status if he is being investigated and doesn’t have proper paperwork – even if the suspect has only been detained at a traffic stop.
Atlanta chef Chris Hall, who says he relies on a legal immigrant workforce, notes that in 10 years of restaurant work, he has not seen someone with US citizenship apply for a dishwashing job. He also says he fears that the workers he does hire for such positions – typically immigrants – will be subject to racial profiling if the bill is signed into law.
“My guy’s supposed to be here at 5, but if he’s pulled over for being brown in his car on the way here and he doesn’t get here until 6, that’s a problem,” Hall said.
Another critic of the bill is Georgia U.S. Representative John Lewis, who compared the measure to Jim Crow laws and called it a “recipe for discrimination,” according to the State Column.