Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Smith to Use AG’s Authority to Verify Citizenship in University System

Like Virginia AG he will use common sense, enforce law

Preston Smith, Republican candidate for Georgia attorney general, today announced that during his first year in office he will designate post-secondary education as a “public benefit”. By doing so, Smith will trigger an automatic requirement for Georgia’s public colleges and universities to verify the citizenship of applicants and attendees.

“Some bureaucrats in higher education seem reluctant to protect the taxpayers by ensuring that only those who are in legally in our state can attend our taxpayer-funded colleges and universities,” said Smith. “They say it is a complicated issue, but I am going to make it simple for them. By using exiting authority that Attorney General Baker has ignored, I will require citizenship verification for every current student and future applicant.”

As a State Senator in 2009, Smith voted for House Bill 2, a bill that passed the General Assembly and became law on January 1, 2010. It defines certain ‘public benefits’ and requires, for the recipients of those benefits, verification of lawful presence within the United States. It also authorizes the attorney general to update the list of defined “public benefits” each year by August 1 and allows him to require that any recipient of the enumerated public benefit be required to have citizenship eligibility confirmed through the SAVE program.

“As attorney general, I will use every tool I have to enforce our current laws against illegal immigration and work to strengthen them where necessary. Georgians can’t afford another attorney general ignoring this issue. The burden of illegal immigration on taxpayers is too high and the cost to public safety is too great,” said Smith.

Smith has also pledged to aggressively enforce The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, one of the toughest immigration laws in the nation that he helped pass in 2006. In addition to requiring all public employers and those working on public contracts to verify citizenship, the law 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. Smith will take a similar stance as the attorney general of Virginia who announced today that law enforcement officers are allowed to check the immigration status of anyone “stopped or arrested”.


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