Rep Kasey Carpenter (R–Dalton) is determined enough to pass his legislation granting special, reduced public college tuition rates to illegal aliens with DACA living in Georgia that he attacked his own county Republican party from the floor of the House Chamber last year (video).
Conservative voters should share his level of interest – and remember the DACA scheme is illegal.
We offer a review of Carpenter’s bill (HB 120) and another immigration related Gold Dome measure that may escape coverage in “the news.”
HB 120 – “Equity” in public college tuition rates for illegal aliens
As we explained in November, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce has joined the Mark Zuckerburg-founded, pro-amnesty (Build Back Better!) FWD.us lobbying enterprise in advocating for illegal alien Georgia residents with a DACA deferral on deportation to receive lower tuition rates than Americans and legal immigrants from other states. Carpenter’s bill would change state law so that could happen.
Another active backer is Jaime Rangel, an illegal alien with DACA who lobbies for FWD.us in the state Capitol.
Georgia Senate president Pro Tem and candidate for Lt. Governor, Sen. Butch Miller (R- Gainesville), also supports the tuition amnesty concept according to a January 7, 2022 news report in the Gainesville Times.
As Carpenter’s experience with his county GOP illustrates, the idea is wildly unpopular with Republican voters.
With more Democrat cosponsors than Republicans, HB 120 advanced out of the GOP-controlled House Higher Education Committee last March. The vote record is quite interesting – Rep Calvin Smyre (D, Columbus), “Dean of the General Assembly” voted “present.”
The bill must start the committee process over again this year to make it to a vote in the full House.
Related: Republican state Rep Wes Cantrell to introduce bill to remove one-year wait for refugees (but not for Americans) to access instate tuition
It helps to know that for academic year 2020-2021, the average tuition & fees for colleges in Georgia was $4,739 for instate and $17,008 for out-of-state according to experts at collegetuition.com. In Carpenter’s bill an American from Michigan (for example) would pay the higher rate while a covered illegal alien living in Georgia would pay no more than an additional 10% of the instate rate. This is apparently the new “equity.”
It’s not too early to ask every candidate for governor if they would sign such a bill into law.
HB 228 – Closing a needless loophole on non-citizen ID in election law
The drivers licenses and official ID Cards that Georgia issues to foreign nationals are almost exactly like the ones commonly given to U.S. citizens. The difference between the ID credentials for citizens and non-citizens – like guest workers, green card holders, foreign students, DACA recipients (yes, DACA recipients) – is that the non-citizens get a card with the words “LIMITED – TERM,” printed across the top.
As state Rep Charlice Byrd wrote for Insider Advantage GA in October (Secure Non-Citizens ID Now – Before New Elections), she has sponsored a “no brainer” bill (HB 228) to change the fact that there is nothing in state law that specifically excludes the non-U.S. citizen ID credentials from consideration as “proper identification” for voter ID purposes.
Last year the most strident Capitol opponent of Rep. Byrd’s legislation was Republican Rep. Bonnie Rich (Suwanee). As a sub-committee Chair in the House Special Committee on Election Integrity she refused to grant Byrd a hearing on the bill. The Chairman of the full committee, Rep. Barry Fleming, was a hero to voter security advocates when he decided to preside over an abbreviated hearing for HB 228 himself.
That hearing illustrated a remarkable lack of knowledge on the part of committee members and the General Counsel at the Secretary of State’s office. There was no vote.
The heated objections to Byrd’s bill from Rich were that it was unnecessary because “non-citizens cannot register to vote” – so there is no need to add wording to state law making foreigner’s drivers license or ID Card ID ineligible as voter ID. Rich’s belief is contradicted by NPR, the Associated Press and reports from Michigan on the Motor Voter registration process also used in Georgia.
We doubt it will change Rep Rich’s mind or attitude, but voters need to know that last year a woman who is not a U.S. citizen was fined for voting illegally in Georgia in 2012 and 2016 according to the liberal AJC last week.
Byrd’s bill requires the warning “BEARER NOT U.S. CITIZEN – NOT VOTER ID” to be added to the front of the LIMITED TERM credentials. Also, as mail-in vote security, the Department of Driver Services would begin a system in which the first two characters of the drivers license/ID Card numbers be “NC” on the cards issued to non-citizens. We would catch up with Alabama on that one.
Taking a cue from the illegal alien lobby, Rep. Rich has informed curious constituents that the added wording to the ID credentials given to foreigners in Georgia is unreasonable and would be a modern day “scarlet letter.”
* Rep Byrd has been advised to meet with the Speaker David Ralston and Gov. Brian Kemp before she could expect a committee vote on her election ID safeguard legislation.
* Companion language to HB 228 is reportedly coming up in the Senate.
* HB 228 – current version here.
A version of this column was originally posted on the subscription news and opinion outlet Insider Advantage Georgia, Jan. 14, 2022.