Second of Four Major Policy Initiatives
As a state senator, Preston Smith helped to pass one of the toughest immigration laws in the nation – The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act – in 2006. As attorney general, Smith says that he will enforce the law and work to strengthen it even more.
“Laws are only effective if they are enforced,” he says. “As a nation, we have tough immigration laws on the books, but they are not enforced and oftentimes are virtually ignored. This puts a strain on our law enforcement community, our healthcare system, our schools and colleges, and our taxpaying citizens.”
Georgia’s law says that all public employers and those working on public contracts must register and participate in the federal work authorization program and have their legal status verified by the Department of Homeland Security in order to be employed in the United States and therefore Georgia. It also stipulates that an arresting police officer must make a reasonable effort to determine the nationality of any person charged and arrested with a felony or DUI. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is to be notified if the prisoner is deemed to be in the United States illegally.
“Our law, like federal laws addressing immigration are stringent – but too often are not enforced,” Preston says. “Hundreds of people enter our borders without going through the proper channels everyday, and it is imperative that our new attorney general stand tough and make sure that the people living here abide by our laws. As Georgia’s attorney general, I will see to it that our law is enforced and I will work to see that this law is strengthened even more so that Georgia becomes the safest place in the nation for the people who live, work and raise their families here.
“Immigration has become priority one to many Americans. For most of us, our descendents came to the United States from other countries looking for a better life. That is as it should be, and we welcome those who come into this country legally to work and pay taxes. “
Preston Smith is seventh generation Georgian. He was elected to the State Senate in 2002 and became the youngest serving Senator in recent history. He is a graduate of Baylor University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration. He later earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Georgia. As an attorney, Smith specialized in civil litigation and has been admitted to practice in the state and federal trial and appellate courts. He also is a member of the State Bar of Georgia.