My Remarks on the Immigration Bill, House Bill 87

March 3, 2011

I rise today in support of House Bill 87.

We are a generous country and state.  The U.S. has welcomed more legal immigrants for each of the last 30 years than the rest of the entire world combined. Our country is comprised of immigrants, and benefits from the diversity they add. In fact, in recent years, half of all new legal immigrants have come from Mexico. We welcome them as fellow citizens.

This is not merely an illegal immigration issue.  This is an education problem that goes to the heart of our ability to provide a quality education to our state’s children. How can we afford not to address the economic burden placed on core services by those that come to our nation in circumvention of federal law?

There are more than 64,000 school-age illegal aliens and 90,000 U.S. born school-aged children of illegal aliens in Georgia’s public schools.  We are funding them at an average $7,433 per student in state and local taxes.

Without raising taxes by one cent, Georgia could devote 10% or more in per pupil funding for public school students if not for illegal immigration.

Additionally, 50 percent of illegal immigrant adults have not completed high school.  85% of adult Americans over the age of 25 have completed high school.

Illegal immigration is costing state taxpayers, our public schools, and local property taxpayers.

It’s compromising our state’s prosperity, and we cannot afford it.  As state legislators, we don’t have the authority to enforce our country’s borders.  We can, though, make Georgia less attractive as a haven for illegal immigrants by voting for HB 87.

I urge you to vote for HB 87.