Executive Director Bryan Long wades into the illegal immigration issue, including his thoughts on Newt Gingrich’s policy. It should be noted that former Georgia Congressman and Republican Presidential candidate Gingrich has modified his position since this video was recorded. Gingrich has now drawn a hard-line at 25 years for those he would allow to stay in the U.S. with their families.
A partial transcript can be found below the video clip.
KENNY B: An issue that may seem fringe but I think it does have a lot of implications in the state is illegal immigration. Quite frankly, I think the Republicans have found themselves in a difficult situation. You’ve got the Ag Commissoner Gary Black saying we need an amnesty program, we need to find a way to get migrant workers on the farm. But you’ve got many other Republicans saying, no we need to find a way to get the illegals out of the state. What’s the answer to that? You’ve got a party that’s a little bit split and the Democrats are left out of the conversation.
BRYAN: Kenny that’s exactly right. That’s one of the hottest topics. When I travel around the state and listen to people that is what everybody is talking about right now. Churches are against that law that our elected officials passed this year. Businesses are against it. Farmers are against it. It’s a $1 billion failed policy.
KENNY B: Does Newt Gingrich have it right when he says we need to find a path to amnesty for these people who have been here for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years as an illegal?
BRYAN: I do think that Newt’s language is right when he says that Americans, we’re not going to throw out our neighbors and friends and students in our schools who’ve been a vital part of our community. We’re not going to throw them back. So to pretend like we are just to score political points is the wrong way to talk about that issue. But here in Georgia, we need to think about the policy that is hurting our businesses right now. This is something that we could undo.
You probably know the story of the Mercedes executive in Alabama who was arrested. That is a possibility here in Georgia under the current law. I know it’s being suspended by a judge but it could happen any day. That is not how you attract business to Georgia. You do not attract quality jobs to Georgia by saying we’re going to arrest anybody who can’t show a driver’s license.
KENNY B: How do you think the Supreme Court is going to ultimately rule on this? And Georgia is not the only state with this up in the air. You’ve got Alabama, Georgia, Arizona.
BRYAN: I don’t want to speculate on what the courts are going to do. But I do know what Georgians want and that’s to repeal that section of the law that makes people live in fear driving down the street. We need to undo that.
KENNY B: Would Better Georgia lobby for that in the next General Assembly? Would you lobby to see lawmakers make a change?
BRYAN: I’m not a lobbyist but, absolutely, but we will advocate for that and I will do it loudly. There are six Republicans in Alabama who have already presented an amendment to their law. Somebody needs to step up in Georgia. I don’t care if it’s a Republican or a Democrat but somebody needs to present a plan now to repeal that section of that bill.
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