While the resolution may not have come about as many immigration advocates may have hoped, illegal immigrants in the state of Georgia will still receive the same benefits: None will be turned away from the state’s public colleges and universities.
During a recent House meeting, the portion of the state’s proposed immigration bill that banned undocumented residents from attending any of Georgia’s public colleges or universities was removed. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the school clause was taken out simply because it was stalling the rest of the bill’s passage through the state’s government.
“It wasn’t worth jeopardizing the entire bill,” Georgia Senator Barry Loudermilk, the bill’s sponsor, said.
The stalling was largely caused by public outcry regarding this portion of the bill. According to AJC, the chancellor of Georgia’s university system, Hank Huckaby, was one of the large sources of criticism.
“Graduating more students is a key goal of the [university] system as we work to help Georgia prosper,” Huckaby stated during his testimony for SB 458 on February 22. “Even for those who are here through no fault of their own, it makes sense to me that we should educate them to the highest level possible. It helps our state economically, culturally, and educationally.”
Senator Loudermilk believes that some parts of the bill that have produced unexpected consequences will also be amended during this process, according to Fox News Latino. Current misaddressed side effects of the bill include the fact that the law bans illegal immigrants from getting married in the state, or sign up for water services. These two factors were largely created due to the bill’s definition of acceptable forms of identification, which states that non U.S. passports are no longer able to be used to identify an individual.