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March 23, 2006

Georgia Reform Bill Passes State House 123-51

"The Georgia House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill aimed at curbing taxpayer benefits to illegal immigrants and regulating the employers that hire them. Senate Bill 529, authored by state Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), passed by a vote of 123-51 after less than two hours of discussion as leaders in the immigrant community called for a boycott and work stoppage on Friday in protest," the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports. "Rep. Alan Powell of Hartwell, one of several Democrats who voted for SB 529, called it a measure that did not go far enough but 'might actually encourage some of those Congressmen to stop playing games ... and to start enforcing the law. What part of 'illegal' does our Congress not understand?' he asked. Reached for comment by the Stein Report, D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society said, "It's the culmination of a year and a half of very, very hard work. We have set the standard for state level activist-led reform. State Sen. Chip Rogers should be praised for being one of the most courageous legislators in the country and one can only hope the United States senate can be as brave."

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Supreme Court Hears Deportation Case

"In a case that could determine how the U.S. deals with longtime illegal residents, Supreme Court justices considered Wednesday whether a, deported Mexican man should be allowed to join his family in Utah. Humberto Fernandez-Vargas first came to the U.S. from Mexico in the 1970s and lived steadily in the country since 1982 after being deported several times early on. He married a U.S. citizen, fathered a child and started a trucking company," the AP writes. "But after he applied for legal status in 2001, he was deported under a 1996 law that revoked the right to an appeal before an immigration judge. He was barred from applying for legal residency or even from seeking relief. At issue is whether the law should have applied to Fernandez-Vargas at all because he last entered the U.S. more than a decade before the statute was enacted. Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice John Roberts asked why any illegal immigrant who had been deported would think they had a right to appeal. 'Why wouldn't (the immigrant) think ... 'whatever rules they have for kicking me out would apply?' Scalia asked."

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Sen. Reid Says He'll Filibuster Frist Enforcement Bill

"As the Senate prepares to tackle the most sweeping immigration reforms in years, a top Democrat vowed Wednesday to do everything in his power, including filibuster, to thwart Majority Leader Bill Frist's proposed overhaul. Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would 'use every procedural means at my disposal' to prevent Frist from bypassing the Judiciary Committee. Frist, R-Tenn., has made clear the Senate will take up his proposal next week if the 18-member committee fails to complete a broader bill," the AP reports. "'If Leader Frist brings a bill to the floor that does not have the approval of the Judiciary Committee, it will not get out of the Senate,' Reid told reporters at the San Ysidro border crossing, a few steps from Tijuana, Mexico."

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Hillary Clinton: House Republicans Would Make "Jesus Himself" A Criminal

"Invoking Biblical themes, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton joined immigration advocates Wednesday to vow and block legislation seeking to criminalize undocumented immigrants. Clinton, a potential 2008 presidential candidate and relative latecomer to the immigration debate, made her remarks as the Senate prepares to take up the matter next week," according to the AP. "Surrounded by a multicultural coalition of New York immigration advocates, Clinton blasted the House bill as 'mean-spirited' and said it flew in the face of Republicans' stated support for faith and values. 'It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures,' Clinton said, 'because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself.'"

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