Legislation would put Georgia in interstate compacts on professional licensing – bypass ‘lawful presence’ status checks
In Georgia the Secretary of State Office administers professional licenses.
Conservative voters should be asking why Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office joined in a recommendation that at least three anti-enforcement bills “pass as written”
We asked last week if Gov. Brian Kemp will sign several GOP bills that dismantle the system in place to verify ‘lawful presence’ of foreign nationals who apply for professional licenses. We now have more information.
The story so far
The short version is that 2006 state law requires that applicants for public benefits – including professional licenses – go through a verification process intended to prevent illegal aliens from accessing those benefits. Three bills (that we know of) were passed in the 2021 General Assembly that put Georgia in inter-state compacts that contain standardized, reciprocal licensing practices that seem to remove the verification process from Georgia’s system. We asked senior legislative management to dispute our analysis. Nobody did.
Washington’s prestigious Center for Immigration Studies has picked up the story
The bills we know about and their respective professions (and corresponding Gold Dome lobbyists) are HB 34: audiologist and speech language pathologists, HB 268: occupational therapists and HB 395: professional counselors. All Republican sponsored. Our original post has the details.
We have heard sneering criticism of our opposition to dismantling the verification system that include the dismissive rhetorical question “just how many illegal aliens will be filling these positions…?” The answer is we don’t know. And that’s kind of the point.
We do know that if the current law is left in place and actually enforced the answer will be “zero.”
According to the anti-enforcement Georgia Budget and Policy Institute Georgia is home to more illegal aliens than green card holders.
We also know that if the usual suspects are allowed to put this legislation in place that next year there will be other bills passed that quietly expand the list of “it’s OK if they are here illegally” professions.
We have learned that these three bills went through a review process by the obscure ‘Georgia Occupational Regulation Review Council’ and that the recommendation from the GORRC was to pass the bills as written. It is important to make it clear again that the Georgia Chamber of Commerce urged passage of this legislation as well.
According to the recommendation from the council on each bill “there is a recognizable potential for harm to Georgians by not entering into the (inter-state compact)…” We do not agree. The harm comes from allowing illegal aliens to obtain professional licenses in Georgia because they have already done so in other states.
The recommendation also makes it clear that “during the course of the review, Council staff obtained information from the applicant group… and the Secretary of State Office while also conducting internal research.”
Who sits on the council? Here is a screenshot from the GORRC.
We sent two questions to the SoS office and confirmed receipt but have not received a reply.
Gov Brian Kemp should veto these bills. His office number is 404-656-1776
Part 1, here
There will be a part 3 to this story as we now see that a similar bill that got past us became state law in 2017 regarding nurses. More later, but all concerned need to know that an illegal alien-free Georgia is not part of most Republican legislator’s agenda.