Written by D.A. King
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.”
In a recent essay, we asked if Gov. Brian Kemp will sign several GOP bills that dismantle the system in place to verify the ‘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 standards 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 includes 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 cardholders. We are trying to reduce that number. We hope readers will agree that Republican lawmakers and Gov. Kemp should take the same attitude. They aren’t.
We know 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 (interstate 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.” We doubt this is what conservative voters wanted in a Secretary of State.
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. Silence is consent.
Part 1, here
A version of this essay was originally posted on ImmigrationPoliticsGA.com
D.A. King is president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society and a nationally recognized authority on illegal immigration. He assisted with creation and implementation of Georgia’s public benefits laws.