Hispanic advocates call immigration bill "unfair" - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hispanic advocates call immigration bill "unfair"

January 18, 2006

Colquitt County-- State Republican leaders say Georgia shouldn't support illegal immigrants. But a surprise today, Governor Sonny Perdue took a step back from their proposals to prohibit illegals from getting state benefits.

He says it's hypocritical to consider illegal immigrants a burden on the state while we depend on them as a work force.

Advocates for migrant workers agree with the governor.

They often work in fields, and perform jobs many people don't want, all with the hope of making a better life. "That's the work that most of them do, pick tomatoes, and most of us Americans don't want to full with that stuff anymore," says Reverend Bill Turner.

Turner works to save souls, but he also serves as an advocate for the Latino community. He thinks bills to stop governmental assistance to illegal immigrants isn't fair.

"We can't receive you, you're Hispanic, you're not legal, go out in the street, and die, we can't let you in here, that doesn't seem to be exactly right to me," says Turner.

"We need help," says Salvador Monge. Monge has lived in this country for twenty-three years and opposes the bill.

"It will be very hard. It will hurt a lot of people in a lot of ways," says Monge.

One bill would require proof of legal residency to qualify for any state benefits. That could make it difficult for illegal workers to go to school or get health care.

"If they're going to cut health, when the woman goes to the hospital, who's going to pay the bill?" says Monge.

Turner believes Congress needs to make it easier for immigrants to come into the country legally. "They'd be paying their own way, as far as health, education, and welfare," says Turner.

If some of the state bills become law, Salvador worries they'll cause more problems than they solve. "They'll have to do things against the law because they're pushing them," he says.

According to a recent poll, 57% of Georgians support cutting off services to illegal immigrants.

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