Atlanta was recently named one of the worst places to be if you are an undocumented immigrant, which comes as no surprise. Many come to the U.S. to escape poverty, gang violence or domestic violence. For many, building a future in their native countries is next to impossible and their last resort is to leave everything they know and love and head to the U.S.
The United States is seen as the land of opportunity where hard work prevails, but that is not always the case. The U.S. has a history of xenophobia that pervades conservative pockets of society today. Often, xenophobic views manifest themselves as laws and ordinances that make it difficult for immigrants to live life. For example, Ga. Sen. Josh McKoon, the personification of xenophobia and bigotry in Georgia, has dedicated his political career to making the lives of brown people difficult.
McKoon tried and failed to pass legislation that directly targets immigrant communities, such as, the “English-Only” bill, which requires all state documents to be printed in only English. He passed legislation that targeted the I.D.’s of those with deferred action, mostly young people who have DACA. The law required that those with deferred action — people who are legally allowed to be in the United States — be assigned I.D.’s that had the words “No Lawful Status,” and “Not Acceptable for Official Purposes,” which is a slightly less aggresive version of the “Illegal Alien” status the senator originally pushed for.
What’s next, Sen. McKoon? Mandatory armbands to display one’s country of origin?
Sen. McKoon hides behind the claim that the law would help cut down on voter fraud, which is statistically non-existent in Georgia. Plus, it would have cost Georgia taxpayers $450,000 to replace every I.D. card. If the Senator is so worried about public safety, he should consider leaving the legislature, because he is a much bigger threat to Georgians and the economy.
McKoon’s legislation has no basis. If he bothered to do any research he would have found that undocumented immigrants contribute around $360 million in state and local taxes. They have a stake in this state. They live here, work here,and raise families here and McKoon, as a public servant, has a duty to serve them as well.