Georgia lawmakers passed a bill in the mold of Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration measure yesterday, over strident objections from immigration advocates and the state’s powerful agriculture industry. The bill will force employers with 10 or more workers to check new hires’ immigration status, and give police the power to check the status of certain criminal suspects, the LA Times reports. The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who hasn’t promised to sign, but did campaign on the promise of enacting just this sort of bill.
But Deal has said he doesn’t want a bill that places an “undue burden” on employers, raising some doubt that he’ll sign. Georgia’s agriculture industry has warned that the law might prevent it from hiring the number of workers it needs, saying the federal guest worker program is insufficient. Immigration advocates have also threatened a state boycott if Deal signs the bill. Georgia is home to an estimated 480,000 illegal immigrants, or 20,000 more than Arizona.