Photo: A Day Without Immigrants- Georgia
After a state-wide ‘Day without Immigrants’ where people refused to go to work or shop and businesses shut their doors, thousands will march at Georgia’s capitol in a circuit that passes detention centers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices to demonstrate against HB 87 and call for a Georgia that honors its immigrant population.
On July 1st, segments of HB 87 went into effect, increasing an already hostile environment toward immigrants and communities of color in the state. In response, hundreds of businesses across Atlanta and in as far away as Macon, Moultrie, Dalton, and other towns closed their doors on Friday in an action that cost the state economy hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many more plan to attend the rally and march on Saturday.
Similar to Arizona, Georgia’s law is an embarrassment, giving the state an international reputation for prejudice reminiscent of its pre-civil rights past. People concerned for migrant rights are traveling from Kentucky, Arizona, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, DC, New York, and other locations from across the country while groups are hosting solidarity events in Portland, OR, Providence, RI, San Francisco, CA, Knoxville, TN, and other cities.
While two segments of HB 87 were enjoined on Monday, many other parts of the bill have moved forward spurring organizers to continue and increase their call for the March.
Teodoro Maus, President of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), explains “We know that the law is unconstitutional. We will continue organizing until it is erased from Georgia’s books and our community is respected in this state for all we contribute. We ask our neighbors to take this moment to correct the false image of our community that has been created for them by hate-mongering anti-immigrant efforts.”
Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR, adds, “Our communities already face discrimination from police empowered to act as immigration agents by the Obama administration. Both the President and the Governor are promoting programs that criminalize immigrants. Instead, we need him to uphold his broken promises on immigration reform.
The criminalization of migrants is the wrong direction for our country regardless of whether it is state laws or federal programs spreading it.”
Carlos García visiting from the Puente Movement in Arizona said, “Arizona has shown us the terrible consequences of these laws. Georgia should see the negative impacts in our state as warning of where HB 87 can lead.”