Since 2007, Georgia has mandated that counties comply with several state and federal immigration laws. These requirements have been significantly expanded over the years, most recently with the passage of HB 87 during the 2011 legislative session which added new reporting and penalty provisions.
Counties are required to register for and use the federal verification programs E-Verify and SAVE, utilize and retain the required affidavits, submit annual reports and accept only secure and verifiable documents for purposes of proving identification. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in penalties including loss of qualified government status, monetary fines, removal from office and even jail time.
To assist with these requirements, ACCG has compiled a number of resources for counties to use in order to stay compliant. ACCG also recommends consulting with your county attorney on issues that may arise from these requirements.
Main Legal Authority
O.C.G.A. § 13-10-90,91
O.C.G.A. § 36-60-6
O.C.G.A. § 50-36-1 through 50-36-3
8 U.S.C. Section 1621
8 U.S.C. Section 1611
Counties are required to submit three separate immigration reports annually. Both the E-Verify Public Contractor Report and the E-Verify Business License/Private Employer Report are due on December 31st of each year to the Department of Audits and Accounts (DOAA). The Public Benefits/SAVE Report is due on January 1st of each year to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Each report covers the reporting period of December 1, 2011 through November 30, 2012. Both DOAA and DCA have online reporting systems for the submission of these reports. General instructions on how to log in and submit these reports are provided below.
E-Verify Public Contractor Report
The E-Verify Public Contractor Report must be submitted to the DOAA each year by December 31st. The purpose of this report is to track contracts entered into by the county with a public contractor for the “physical performance of services” during the reporting period. The 2012 report will cover the period of December 1, 2011, through November 30, 2012. This report will include the county’s E-Verify number and date the county was authorized to use E-Verify by the federal government and the legal name, address, and E-Verify number of the contractor and the date of the contract between the contractor and county. Even if your county did not enter into any contracts of this nature for the reporting period, it is still necessary to file a report noting that your county has nothing to report. For questions on how to submit this report, contact DOAA at HB87_@audits.ga.gov.
E-Verify Private Employer/Business License Report
The Private Employer/Business License Report requires that counties issuing or renewing business licenses, occupational tax certificates, or other documents required to operate a business to submit a report to the DOAA each year by December 31st. The 2012 report will cover the period of December 1, 2011 through November 30, 2012. This annual report will include each license or certificate issued by the county in the previous 12 months including the name of the person and business issued a license or other document and their E-Verify number. DOAA also requires that the business license number be included. Beginning in January 2012, state law required businesses with 500 or more employees that are seeking a business license, occupational tax certificates, or other documents required to operate a business with the county to sign an affidavit affirming that they are registered for E-Verify and in July 2012, businesses with 100 or more employees were required to do the same. For questions on how to submit this report, contact DOAA at HB87_@audits.ga.gov.
Public Benefits/SAVE Report
All counties that administer public benefits in Georgia are required by law to submit an annual report to DCA listing the public benefits they administer and note whether SAVE authorization for verification for each public benefit administered has been received. This report is due by January 1st of each year and covers the reporting period of December 1, 2011 to November 30, 2012. In order to submit your report, you must first register with DCA through their online reporting system. Once you have registered you will be asked the following: 1) what benefits are administered by your county and 2) if your county is authorized to use SAVE to verify that benefit. The list of benefits that your county is authorized to use for SAVE system verification is located in the Memorandum of Agreement that the county signed with the Department of Homeland Security in order to register for the SAVE program. For questions on how to submit this report, contact DCA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Georgia counties are required to verify the status of anyone who applies for a public benefit through the county. The benefit may be paid through federal, state or local funds or be administered through a federal, state or local program. Benefits are defined by state statute, O.C.G.A. § 50-36-1, by federal statute, 8 U.S.C. 1611 and 8 U.S.C. 1621, and by the Office of the Attorney General. ACCG in partnership with GMA also created a list of common benefits that counties and cities may have. These benefits are listed as part of the ACCG-GMA checklist that are provided to DHS as part of the SAVE registration.
There are several affidavits that counties will need to use in order to stay in compliance with Georgia immigration requirements.
Counties that enter into a contract for the physical performance of services with a contractor must require the contractor to sign and submit an E-Verify Contractor Affidavit. The Attorney General's Office has advised state agencies that this requirement should be applied to contracts for public works and the maintenance, operation and repair of buildings or structures. Please see their memo to the Department of Audits. If that contractor hires subcontractors, then the contractor must require the subcontractor to sign and submit an E-Verify Subcontractor Affidavit to him or her. If the subcontractor hires sub-subcontractors, then the subcontractor must require the subcontractor to sign and submit an E-Verify Sub-Subcontractor Affidavit to him or her. The county is only responsible for the E-Verify Contractor Affidavit.
Private Employer E-Verify Affidavits
Beginning on January 1, 2012, private employers with 500 or more employees seeking an occupation tax certificate (business license) or any other document required to operate a business with the county will be required to register for and use E-Verify and to sign an E-Verify affidavit attesting to such. Private employers with 100 or more employees must be registered beginning on July 1, 2012 and employers with more than 10 employees must be registered beginning on July 1, 2013. If any employer has less than 11 employees, they are exempt from this requirement, but must complete an affidavit attesting that they are exempt.
Anyone seeking a public benefit from a county must first complete a SAVE affidavit. If the applicant is not a U.S. citizen, than the county is required to run them through the SAVE program to verify their status.
Approved Secured and Verifiable Identification Information
Beginning on January 1, 2012, any person seeking a public benefit or anything else through the county for which identification is required, must show a secure and verifiable document. These documents have been identified by the Office of the Attorney General. A county may not accept a Matricula Consular de Alta Seguridad, matricula consular card, consular matriculation card, consular identification card, or similar identification card for this purpose.
History of Georgia Immigration Law
Additional ACCG Immigration Resources