Georgia Governor Signs "Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011"

On May 13, 2011, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law the "Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011," more commonly known as "House Bill 87." House Bill 87 requires, among other things, private employers with more than 10 employees to use the federal government's work authorization program, E-verify, to confirm the eligibility of employees to work in the United States. House Bill 87 becomes effective as to private employers in stages: private employers with 500 or more employees must begin complying with the statute and using E-verify on January 1, 2012; private employers with 100 or more employees but fewer than 500 need not use E-verify until July 1, 2012; and private employers with more than 10 but fewer than 100 employees must begin using E-verify by July 1, 2013.


House Bill 87 also requires private employers to submit proof of compliance with the statute in the form of an affidavit that includes the employer's federally assigned employment eligibility verification system user number and the date of authority for use. Before a business license or occupational tax certificate may be issued or renewed, this proof of compliance must be submitted to the appropriate county or municipal entity issuing or renewing the license. Additionally, House Bill 87 authorizes the Georgia Attorney General to conduct investigations and bring criminal or civil actions to ensure compliance with the use of E-verify.


As has been the case with other recently enacted state immigration laws across the country, challenges to the constitutionality of House Bill 87 are expected as groups have begun mobilizing against its implementation. These challenges are expected to be filed in federal court in the near future.


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