Georgia Immigration Reform Penalizes Users of Fake IDs

A new Georgia law imposes a penalty of 15 years in prison and $250,000 fine for anyone who uses a fake ID to get a job, a move that many believe will specifically target the state’s undocumented worker population, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The offense, called aggravated identity fraud, went into effect on July 1 as part of the state’s recently passed immigration reform law. In addition to entrapping illegal immigrants, officials said the legislation may also effect “deadbeat” parents who are trying to hide their income and young people who may be lying about their age to find a job. However, penalties for those under 21 years old are considerably lower, at 3 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

“It’s a harsh penalty,” Frank Rotondo, executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, told the newspaper. “But it is meant as an eye-opener, to send a message.”

Before July 1, using a false form of identification would typically result in probation and a small fine.

Georgia’s immigration law also includes a slew of other changes, such as requiring public schools to report their number of illegal immigrant students and demanding that businesses use the federal E-Verify program to check the citizenship status of potential employees. However, two provisions of the bill – which would have given police the authority to inquire about an individuals immigration status when questioning suspects and penalizing individuals who knowingly harbor or transport illegal immigrants – were blocked by a federal court.