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Anthropologists Denounce New Georgia Anti-Immigration Law

The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) strongly condemns recently-signed legislation in Georgia that unfairly targets illegal immigrants, calling the law “discriminatory and weakening customary legal prohibitions of police investigations on immigrant status.” The group passed a resolution speaking out against the law on May 22.

Georgia House Bill 87, signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal (R) would, among other things, allow local and state police to arrest illegal immigrants and transport them to state and federal jails; punish people who use fake identification to get a job in Georgia with up to 15 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines; and punish those who knowingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants or encourage them to come to Georgia. First-time offenders would face imprisonment for up to 12 months and up to $1,000 in fines.

Georgia is the third state to pass anti-immigration legislation within the past year. Utah and Arizona both passed similar types of legislation, with Arizona’s law currently being challenged in Federal court. Last year, AAA issued a statement condemning the Arizona law, calling it “predatory and unconstitutional.”

AAA leadership was united in its opposition to the law. “Georgia’s new law unfairly targets illegal immigrants and includes draconian punishments for those who can least afford to be treated so harshly,” AAA President Virginia Dominguez said in a statement issued today. The sponsor of AAA’s measure, George Mason anthropologist Hugh Gusterson, noted that with the passage of the resolution “the anthropological community has shown that it will not bring its business to a state that has moved so far from American traditions and, instead, chosen to scapegoat its weakest citizens.”

The AAA resolution pledges that the association as a whole will refuse to hold a scholarly conference in Georgia until House Bill 87 is either repealed or struck down as constitutionally invalid.

Click here to view the official AAA press release.

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