March 28, 2018
Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director, GALEO
Email: [email protected]
GALEO, AAAJ-Atlanta & others send open letter to Amazon & Facebook regarding SB452
(Atlanta, GA) - Following a unified press conference and after delivering over 1,000 letters of opposition to SB452 that were delivered to Governor Deal and Speaker Ralston yesterday, some of the coalition members drafted a letter to send to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, and to Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook. Both high-tech businesses are considering opening locations in Georgia.
Below is the open letter, which was both emailed and mailed today.
Dear Mr. Jeff Bezos (Amazon) &
Mr. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook):
We the undersigned organizations, and many other businesses, individuals and groups that have signed a similar letter to our Governor Nathan Deal and Speaker of the House of Representatives David Ralston asking for their intervention to help stop the Discriminatory Georgia Senate Bill 452 from moving forward this legislative session. This bill is a clear attempt to surveil, target, harass, and deport immigrant communities. This bill will position Georgia as an unwelcoming state for business, travel, and future immigration for the following reasons:
Senate Bill 452 will put Georgians in danger. A University of Chicago study found that 44% of Latinos will not report being a victim of a crime to the police because they are afraid that the police will use this as an opportunity to question them about their immigration status or the status of people they know. This same study found that 62% of Latinos believe that police stop them for no good cause (based on racial profiling), including 58% of U.S.-born Latino citizens. When local law enforcement is engaging in federal immigration enforcement, this creates fear within immigrant communities, preventing immigrant victims and witnesses of crime from coming forward. When the community is more afraid of police than of violence, community trust, the basis on which local law enforcement functions, is broken.
Senate Bill 452 will create an ineffective bureaucracy and will clog our courts. The proposed law requires judges sentencing someone in any felony, misdemeanor, or ordinance violation case to determine that person's immigration status. This bill treats immigration status determinations as if they were easily done, rather than the complicated inquiries that will unnecessarily burden judges and parole board members. In addition, the entities required to comply with that bureaucracy - the Department of Corrections, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and the Department of Community Supervision - already face funding stresses, and Senate Bill 452 provides no funding for additional staff or for training to implement this bill's justice system mandates.
Senate Bill 452 will hurt businesses and depress our economy. As the state continues to grow and attract new business, the extreme policies proposed in this bill would deter investment by domestic and international corporations, as they would view Georgia as being unfriendly and hateful towards immigrants. Senate Bill 452will further damage Georgia's reputation as an open and inclusive place to do business.
Senate Bill 452 will prevent victims of domestic and sexual violence from reporting their abuse. Abusers and perpetrators frequently exploit a victim's immigration status as a tool of coercion and threaten to have victims deported and separated from their children if they reach out for help. This bill will further empower abusers by entangling the criminal justice system with ICE, which discourages victims from interacting with the police, allowing perpetrators to continue to abuse and exploit victims. SB 452 will create a barrier for immigrant and undocumented survivors to learn about and seek legal status safety reliefs, such as U-Visas for crime victims and T-Visas for trafficking victims, because they will fear that in coming forward to seek these safe solutions they will put themselves at greater risk for detention and deportation.
Senate Bill 452 will tear apart our communities and families. As a state that has said it values families, we must openly acknowledge that the real purpose behind local law enforcement entanglement with ICE is to break up families by deporting individuals who are part of our Georgia communities. Often children who have mixed status families (one parent who has lawful status and one who may be undocumented) struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts as they face the risk of families being broken up every day. The forced entanglement of local law enforcement and ICE through Senate Bill 452 will result in an entire generation of children with increasingly negative mental and physical health outcomes, as their families are being detained and traumatized by fear of deportation. Even those who have committed felonies should not be indefinitely separated from their families by deportation - incarceration is enough.
The undersigned organizations, and our co-signees, implore you to consider the constitutional, fiscal, economic, community, and family consequences of legislation that would portray Georgia as an anti-immigrant and discriminatory state.
We ask you to reach out to both Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston to urge their decisive and public opposition to Senate Bill 452.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta
ACLU of Georgia
Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies
Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO)
Georgia-Alabama Chapter of AILA
Help us stop SB452! CALLS needed ASAP (1-855-727-7407)! Anti-immigrant legislation now in the GA House! Please share widely!