A panel addressed the Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Tuesday afternoon. The purpose is to look at immigration laws and policies and how their enforcement in Georgia affects the work force and how the law is carried out.
The Georgia Restaurant Association, Poultry Association and Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association were all on the agenda. Elected officials and government officials also addressed the advisory committee.
Doraville police Chief John King spoke about how Georgia's immigration policy affects his department.
"I don't pick and choose the laws, whether I like them or not, but how do I enforce this law without going down the slippery road of racial profiling?" King asked.
King said as victims of crimes, illegal immigrants often don't speak up.
"I have members of the community who carry large amounts of cash because they don't trust the banks and they think they're going to be deported at any moment. The predators, the thugs out there, are having a field day because our government has failed to come up with a sensible pathway," King said.
"We need people to do jobs in our country that are not traditional and that are not the jobs that most people necessarily want their children to have, and our labor force is diminishing," said Karen Bremer with the Georgia Restaurant Association.
Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, told the advisory committee the industry lost more than $140 million in crops in 2011 when the state took a tougher stance on immigration.
"We have both documented and undocumented workers leave Georgia to avoid possible harassment with law enforcement agents," Hall said.
The information will be compiled into a report and then presented to Congress and the president.
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