Thursday, April 14, 2011

Governor Deal, Veto That Bill

Today is the last day that HB 87 can pass the house and senate and as I type bill is being debated on the floor of the Georgia house of representatives.

Outside the capitol hundreds of human rights activist have been holding a vigil, and holding onto hope that those under the dome will vote to kill HB87.

During a time of economic crisis it's not surprising that some in the Georgia house and senate have attempted to scapegoat our state's money problems on anyone but themselves, and undocumented workers seem to be a pretty easy target being that they have been politically voiceless for decades.

The reality, however, is much different then what HB 87 Architects painted. Georgia's top two industries are agriculture and tourism, both industries are fueled by undocumented workers, both industries have lobbied against HB 87. The similar Arizona bill that passed last year sparked international boycotts of the state which cost the state millions in revenue.

Georgia's economy simply can't afford this type of legislation.

But this is about much more than economics.

This is a human rights issue.Immigrant's rights are human rights. What people who vigiled today at the capitol are fighting for is simply the right to exist in a space they have called home for years, a space they have contributed to greatly.

Borders, boundaries, corporations, and nations are simply ideas. We should care less about these ideas than we do actual human beings with beating hearts and dreams of their future. A future where we're all free to travel where we please, attend school where we please, seek employment where we please. A future where we all have the dignity and freedom to exist is a space we call home. A future that never again rolls out the red carpet for Jim Crow laws, a future that refuses to legislate hate.

Sadly HB 87 passed tonight, effectively rolling out the red carpet for Jim Crow. The fight isn't over, we then turn our eyes, our energy, our voice, and our prayers to Governor Deals office with one singular message: Veto This Bill!

Tim Franzen
American Friends Service Committee