Since 2007, Georgia has mandated that counties comply with several state and federal immigration laws. These requirements have changed significantly over the years, most recently with the passage of SB 160 during the 2013 legislative session.
Counties are required to register for and use the federal verification programs E-Verify and SAVE, utilize and retain the required affidavits, submit an annual report 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 50-36-4
Starting in December 2013, counties are required to submit an immigration report annually to the Department of Audits and Accounts (DOAA). Previously, counties were required to submit three separate immigration reports to two separate state agencies. The report covers the reporting period of December 1, 2012 through November 30, 2013. All reporting requirements can be found in O.C.G.A. § 50-36-4. DOAA has created a new online reporting system for this purpose. General information about the new reporting format was sent to every county by DOAA in August. A copy of the letter can be found here. DOAA has created several resources to assist with the reporting process which are available through their website.
There are several affidavits that counties will need to use in order to stay in compliance with Georgia immigration requirements.
E-Verify Contractor Affidavits
Counties (public employer) 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.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.
The definition of “physical performance of services” has been greatly expanded through the passage of SB 160. It no longer applies to only contacts for public works and contracts for repair, maintenance and operations. It now applies to any service or labor contract over $2499.99unless 1) the contractor has no employees (in which case they must present an approved state issued identification card/driver’s license from an approved state as provided on the Attorney General’s website) or, 2) the contract is with an individual licensed under Title 26, Title 43, or the State Bar of Georgia who is in good standing and that individual is performing that service.
Private Employer E-Verify Affidavits
As of July 1, 2013, private employers with 10 or more employees seeking an occupation tax certificate (business license) or any other document required to operate a business with the county is required to register for and use E-Verify and to sign an E-Verify affidavit attesting to such. If any employer has less than 11 employees, they are exempt from this requirement, but must complete an affidavit attesting that they are exempt. The affidavit requirement does not apply to renewals if the private employer has previously provided an affidavit and has not changed their E-Verify number. For renewals, the private employer is only required to either provide their E-Verify number or state that they are exempt.
SAVE/Public Benefit Affidavits
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 at O.C.G.A. § 50-36-1.
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. U.S. citizens who have previously provided a SAVE affidavit and Secure and Verifiable Document to the county are not required to provide these documents for additional benefits or renewals. Legal permanent residents and qualified aliens are required to submit these documents for each new benefit or renewal.
Approved Secured and Verifiable Identification Information
Any person seeking a public benefit 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, nor may they accept a foreign passport without an I-94 formfor this purpose.
History of Georgia Immigration Law
Additional ACCG Immigration Resources