Long delays for those seeking professional licenses in Georgia is another result from that state’s immigration law.
Accountants, nurses and other professionals are among those effected and the potential impact has been described as “catastrophic.”
Former Secretary of State Cathy Cox said that the law is expected to create months-long bureaucratic delays and “direct consequences” for small businesses.
The current secretary of state, Brian Kemp, a Republican, has admitted that the law could delay the licenses for tens of thousands by an additional three to four months.
Anyone applying for professional licenses is required to show a “secure and verifiable” form of identification, such as a driver’s license from January 1st. 256,000 applications for licenses are expected next year and copies of these identification documents will have to be attached to each one This is expected to triple processing times, according to Kemp. He is seeking a bigger budget to deal with the problem.
Another aspect of the law requiring use of E-Verify — which checks workers’ immigration status against Federal databases — appears unlikely to be audited because the state Legislature has not set aside any money or asked the responsible department “to provide any budget projections relative to that activity,” State Auditor Russell Hinton admitted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday.
Cox agrees that the delays projected for licenses by Kemp are plausible given the requirements of the new immigration law and the budget cuts she said her former office has experienced in recent years.
“You could put people out of work who are in work. It could be catastrophic, truly,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“All the real true small business people run through this office of the secretary of state. And to put an impediment like that in front of them is going to have dire consequences for the business community.”
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce said that the delays are an “unintended consequence” of the immigration law.
“We hope that this issue can be resolved in a way that does not put an undue burden on Georgia businesses,” said a spokeswoman.
In Alabama, Gov. Robert Bentley said Tuesday that his state’s immigration law may require changes to ‘simplify’ it. This comes after several sections have been declared unconstitutional as well as lobbying from local businesses negatively impacted by the law.
Bentley also told the Associated Press that he has avoided making public statements about his state’s controversial immigration law in part because he believes that it has damaged Alabama’s reputation by strengthening stereotypes about the state’s residents “living in the ’50s and ’60s.”
“I don’t want to be perceived as the face of illegal immigration bills in the country, and I could be that,” Bentley said.
Alabama native Condoleezza Rice also said this week that she was concerned that the law ‘has not helped the state’s image in the eyes of the world.’
Photo credit: StripeyAnne
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