Immigration code change gains support with Cobb commissioners
by Jon Gillooly
January 09, 2013 01:13 AM | 5229 views | 33 33 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Commissioner Helen Goreham
Commissioner Helen Goreham
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Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott (MDJ/Emily Barnes)
Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott (MDJ/Emily Barnes)
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Northeast Cobb District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell (MDJ/ Laura Moon)
Northeast Cobb District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell (MDJ/ Laura Moon)
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MARIETTA — Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham is the third board member to come out in favor of requiring all contractors doing business with the county to apply for federal IMAGE certification.

The proposal has the backing of Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell and would change the county’s code to incorporate language about the federal initiative, which stands for ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.

Rob Hosack, the county’s community development director, explained what that proposal means during Tuesday’s board meeting.

“If the proposal goes forward, folks will have to provide an affidavit that says they have submitted an application for the IMAGE program and that they intend to comply with all of the requirements of the IMAGE program by a date certain,” Hosack said.

Two public hearings will take place on the code change on Jan. 22 and Feb. 26 to give residents an opportunity to speak about revisions to the proposal. Ott and Birrell hope the proposal will then be approved on Feb. 26.

After five residents spoke in favor of the proposal during the public comment portion of the board meeting on Tuesday, the Journal asked Goreham if she would support the code change.

Goreham said while she wants to examine the exact language of the proposed code change, “in theory,” she also supports having contractors “and subcontractors” who do business with the county become IMAGE certified “because it ensures that official citizens of the U.S. are afforded job opportunities that might otherwise go to illegal immigrants, and in today’s economy it’s very important that our citizens are gainfully employed.”

Newly elected Commissioner Lisa Cupid said she was still researching the issue and had not yet made up her mind. County Chairman Tim Lee said he, too, is still doing research.

“I will be considering all points of view and input from the community and staff as we get towards the end of the month,” Lee said. “This is a very important issue, and we want to make sure that we have made the right decision, and we’re going to make sure we weigh all factors before we move forward.”

Asked if he was leaning toward opposing or approving the proposal, Lee said, “At this time I am not leaning one way or the other. We’re still in evaluation.”

Birrell explained why she was pushing the proposal for county contractors to become IMAGE certified. She pointed out the county itself already applied to become IMAGE certified last year.

“Now that the county is IMAGE certified for our hiring practices and employees, I feel that we need to have our contractors and the businesses that do business with Cobb County be IMAGE certified to make sure that the jobs that are available in the county are going to our citizens,” Birrell said. “I think it’s a good program, and it’s an extra tool that we can use to verify legal citizens to be able to employ in the county not just from the county but our contractors who do business in the county.”

Birrell said she’s heard nothing but support for the proposal.

Ott said he’s heard some say adopting the proposal is bad for business.

“Instead of saying it’s bad for business, it’s good for the people that need a job, and I think that’s really important,” Ott said.

Immigration activist D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society was first to address commissioners on Tuesday. He praised the county for becoming IMAGE certified last year, or as he worded it, for adopting, “the no cost, free-to-use, job protection, phony-hiring document detection device offered by the federal government called the IMAGE program.”

King called on commissioners now to mandate that the contractors the county does business with apply for certification as well.

While the E-verify program the county uses verifies the status of newly hired employees, the IMAGE system examines older hiring records, King said.

“I respectfully submit that ladies and gentlemen that you have an opportunity here to fundamentally change the state of Georgia and not just Cobb County by leading the way again in protecting jobs for our poor, our unemployed and our working poor by requiring contractors to do the right thing to make sure their past records are in order and to certify that they’re using the E-Verify system by requiring them to be IMAGE compliant before their bid is accepted,” King said. “This will have a ripple effect all over the state of Georgia, and I think that the business lobby who is very much against this realizes that, and I predict that there will be a heck of a fight coming from the Chamber and the contractors lobby.”

The Journal asked the Cobb Chamber for its position on the issue.

Greg Morgan, the partner-in-charge of the Atlanta office of Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC, who is also the Chamber’s chairman for 2013, wrote in an email, “The Cobb Chamber is a member organization representing Cobb’s thriving business community. At this time, our members have not asked the Chamber staff to study this issue. While we may not have an official stance on the IMAGE program, the Cobb Chamber always supports the notion that local business leaders need to follow the law.”

King told commissioners all he’s asking is for contractors to file the application to become certified in the federal program, a process he estimates can be done in a few hours time.

King was followed at the meeting by Jan Barton of Marietta, Joyce Schumacher of Marietta and Michael Opitz of Marietta, who all urged adoption of the proposal as well.

“We all know that illegal immigration in this country is a major problem both from the standpoint of cost as well as the damage to our society,” Opitz said. “It is very important to understand that here in Georgia, we know about the problems with illegal immigration in Arizona, but Georgia has more illegal immigrants than Arizona does, so it’s important that we eliminate as many magnets attracting illegal immigrants to Georgia as we possibly can and especially to Cobb County.”

Opitz said it’s a matter of protecting jobs for Georgians and other Americans.

Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, told the Journal the proposal is a bad idea.

“Does Cobb County really want to force all businesses that conduct business with the county to actually invite federal law enforcement agents to oversee their employment operations?” Gonzalez asked. “This is Big Brother at its worst.”

Gonzalez said businesses in Cobb “will certainly” choose not to do business with the county government if they are required to undergo the certification. And that may make Cobb County taxes go up because of the limited competition of available vendors.

“Cobb County will place itself in a competitive disadvantage and create greater bureaucracy for the business community,” Gonzalez said.

He said immigration reform is coming this year.

“Is Cobb County wasting its time on something that will not have an impact towards the end of the year?” he asked. “Cobb County Commissioners should spend their time on other important matters rather than attempting to regulate immigration at the local level.”

 

Should Cobb county require contractors that work for the county be IMAGE certified?


Comments
(33)
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anonymous
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March 07, 2013
Good bye Helen
Murder, again
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January 10, 2013
Per front page of the AJC:

"Santana was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, aggravated assault, felony murder and an immigration violation, according to Gwinnett County jail records. He was being held Thursday without bond."

Note - murder - Note - immigration violation. Just coming here to work? Benefit to our community? This is the face of illegals - criminals in Mexico, criminals in the USA. They know not how to change their spots.
fool me once....
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January 10, 2013
Cobb officials have not been held accountable.

There are ALREADY LAWS they are supposed to have county( and city) contractors abiding by,.. but we all know, it's been pretty much business as usual!!

Has anyone heard of even ONE raid on a Cobb road project to check adherence to the laws??

Hell, no!!! Not gonna happen!!

CSPAN this morning on immigration reform.

After the debt ceiling, we will see immigration legislation that will allow non criminals,...(cough,cough... laborers, carpenters , sidewalk cement pourers, road workers, etc.) the ability to stay here & work, if they can prove they have been working and have no criminal (cough, cough) record.

The illegal population is the new America!

Illegal workers are the contractors golden geese!!

Americans are asleep.
anonymous
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February 25, 2013
At Helen Goreham's town hall meeting on Feb 21, she could not answer the question, "who is the person at the county responsible for enforcing this?" Literally could not answer. So if no one is held accountable, there's NO WAY things are ok.

Just passed three Mexicans leveling concrete at the traffic island at Stilesboro and Barrett today with their white "overseers" standing over them getting paid who knows how much by the county. Slave labor, illegal labor and probably fake IDs probably bought from the two other illegals who were busted on the 23rd in Smyrna. Identity theft. Harbored by the Cobb Chamber member company who opposes the IMAGE program and the commissionors, Lee, Cupid, Goreham, who have changed their mind from last year and are against it now.

I have a nephew who'd LOVE that job out there leveling concrete for a county contractor paycheck. His parents lost their jobs and he had to drop out of college. He's living at home, unable to find work as well. We are raising a generation of boys who's never gotten their hands dirty, but it's NOT because they don't want to. It's because the illegals have taken all the jobs they once did.
Sane Reader
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January 10, 2013
Jerry Gonzalez has a colorful, sickening history. But we never seem to read about it. A militant gay activist who got a job with well-funded, litigation-crazed open borders MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense yada yada, he went to work for now former State Sen. Sam Zamarippa as a fundraiser. He was then installed by Zamarippa, a democrat, as titular head of GALEO and is paid to march through the streets of Atlanta, lobbying legislators.

Big money - GALEO claims Jane Fonda as an initial friend - makes all the difference, doesn't it?

But Gonzalez is a typical leftist, all over the map, demanding special rights for gays,an end to enforcement of immigration laws on the federal level, but then turning around and demanding an end on the state level because it is the fed's responsibility.

In testimony before the Georgia state legislature Gonzalez announced we can't afford to enforce the rule of law because of budget shortages. Never let a crisis go to waste, eh Jerry? But soon he was contradicting that stand on Fox news Atlanta TV, saying we must obey the rule of law in awarding citizenship to children of illegals.

Their arguments are practically indefensible, which is why D.A. King routs them every time in debates and therefore must be trashed, repeatedly.

Gonzalez's tribalist, anti-assimilation leanings are also evident when it comes to his quotes on English as our official language, saying it should not stand.

"What we will see in the 2010 Census results once they are all finally released is that the Latino community is a growing and vibrant part of this nation's future that must be respected. These types of "English-only" provisions are an insult to our culture."

JrRoe
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January 10, 2013
Not all choices in life offer this clarity.

Align with law abiding folk or with counterfeit identification enthusiasts. Pick a side.

Rich Pellegrino
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January 09, 2013
Most of the writers here and the Commissioners who are supporting this are wasting their breath and time, and our tax dollars--on emotional, fear and race baiting.

Myth: Undocumented immigrants are taking our jobs.

Every independent audit concludes that their buying power creates a net increase in jobs.

Myth: They are not paying taxes.

Again, every audit says they are paying in to the tax coffers millions more than they are receiving in services.

Myth: They are criminals or are somehow dangerous to our society.

Every study says that the places they live in the highest concentrations have the lowest crime rates.

The myths that are spread by those who always try to find a scapegoat to blame their problems on should not be considered worthy of the time of our commissioners. If you/they pay attention to these bullying and prejudicial attitudes then what does it say about you/them.

I will be happy to meet with anyone, including Commissioners, to share these facts, if anyone really cares about the facts.
anonymous
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January 10, 2013
"Every study says that the places they live in the highest concentrations have the lowest crime rates."

Smyrna crime rate is lower than East Cobb's?

Chamblee's lower than Dunwoody?

You are full of it, and to be ignored.

anonymous
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January 10, 2013
I beg to differ. We had an illegal family move into our neighborhood and it took 3 years--yes, 3 years--to fine them into adhering to the neighborhood rules that are no-brainers to U.S. citizens. No, you can't park a junk heap with no tag on the side of the street and leave it there. No, you can't leave trash all over your yard. No, you can't let your children destroy the common area. No, you can't have huge parties with blaring music that last all night. Yes, you have to pick up your beer cans. Etc. There are laws and just plain common sense to adhere to live here.
Prove it Pellegrino
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January 10, 2013
Give the name of the study that shows illegals have a net benefit over services they receive, which include schools, medical, housing, food stamps, welfare for the anchor babies, and false claims for earned income tax credits and false income tax refunds.

Every study shows that they cost Georgians, just in state aid and not including Federal, of over $2 billion per year.
fool me once......
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January 09, 2013
What is the reason the Cobb officials have been so silent over the past 8 years, knowing full well contractors could skate around previously passed laws?

When questioning the huge money going to Croy Engineering in Smyrna (much of the 43 million 2005 SPLOST has been sent to Mexico), Bob Ott told me "you don't know how things work".

No,Ott,how well many of us DO know!! Much of the problem is being polite won't make the elected officials do what's right!

They will continue to turn a blind eye when contractors find their way around IMAGE.

(there's too much money & power behind these contracts!!)

They simply pay the illegals 'off the books'.

Whose counting?
anonymous
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January 09, 2013
!!!!!
I AGREE
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January 11, 2013
Want to END the Immigration Debate AND the Corruption Debate?

1. Like Ms. K., we all should be interested in stamping out corruption. How about a zero-profit mandate for muni projects?

2. End the dependency on slush fund bail-outs for our financial institutions and seek to bail out the local businesses.

3. Provide a better financial education so that citizens are aware of the need to save rather than spend.

Anyway - three magic bullets that can help repair the nation and END the debates.
La Raza forever
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January 09, 2013
This idea is racist! Borders are racist! The Board is racist if they pass this! This is not just your country and we will take over soon!
anonymous
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January 09, 2013
The intellect and maturity of the illegal alien support organization at its finest.
anonymous
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January 09, 2013
I kinda agree with one of your statements--you have ALREADY taken over our free Social Services programs. Just wait until Obamacare fully kicks in and you all are REQUIRED to have insurance to cover part of the cost of your emergency room visits. You will no longer be able to give birth to your three children totally free of charge. What in the world is racist about asking ALL people to pay taxes? I wonder who will pay for all these free perks when "you take over."
Marie in Marietta
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January 09, 2013
Horray! That creepy Jerry Gonzalez didn't let us down! I hope he comes to the 7PM hearing on this ordinance on January 22 so everyone can see him spew his hate. Google him!

D.A. King has written many times that he pleaded guilty to illegal gambling more than 35 years ago and got a fine and probation. For those of us who are not racebaiting open borders nuts, betting on football games and being fined does not disqualify that person from doing the right thing to try to protect jobs. We should hope that the immigration laws are enforced like the gambling laws!

Jerry Gonzalez is funded by the powerful corporations that want the illegal labor and he is a brown supremicist who will do anything to stop enforcement of immigration laws for his tribe. The concept of all of us together and equal is repugnant to him.

Jerry Gonzalez last worked for the far lefty Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. I have seen the quotes from that groups founder, Mario Obledo: "California is going to become a Hispanice state and we are going to take over the legislature. Anyone who doesn't like it should leave. They ought to go back to Europe"

If this guy wasn't smearing DA, it would be a bad sign. From our street -Hooray D.A. King and Hooray to the honest members of the board! YES TO IMAGE for contractors!
anonymous
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January 09, 2013
Let's do the right thing in Cobb County, Image program needs to be implemented.
Pat H
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January 09, 2013
If an illegal is driving drunk, and investigation finds he/she was able to buy a car and liquor from money earned by a Cobb County subcontractor, I hope lawyers pursue the County along with the contractor and subcontractor for penalties for anyone killed or injured as a result.

More citizens have been killed by illegal drunk drivers than soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. These programs have been mandated by the State - Cobb County needs to conform.
Jerry Gonzalez
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January 09, 2013
Why is Cobb County taking advice on law enforcement from a convicted felon, DA KING?
anonymous
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January 09, 2013
I don't know anything about DA King, or you.

Though, he still has the right to free-speach.

County taking advice from him? Did they pay him? Ask him to speak? No. He chose to speak in a public forum.

I now know this about you - you are a mudslinger - can't argue on facts and any "Advice" you put forward should be ignored
dustoff
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January 09, 2013
So DA is a convicted felon, you make your living off illegals and therefore are violating federal law by aiding and abetting felons.

So who are you to throw rocks??
SW Gal
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January 09, 2013
Good for you, D.A. King and fellow citizens and the Cobb Commissioners who will do what is right for GA citizens. "Arizona lost $1.4 Billion in wages in 2005 due to illegal immigration.[5] The hardest hit were those legal workers who are most vulnerable, low wage workers. Low wage workers earned 4.7% less in Arizona in 2005 because of unauthorized aliens taking jobs and suppressing wages. Id. American workers with college educations were harmed as well, losing on average about 1% of their income per worker." (quote from Numbers USA.)
HA Dnuff
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January 09, 2013
NumbersUSA is using the more-conservatively-stated 125,000-a-month figure for "new foreign workers." How much does Jerry Gonzalez get paid per worker needing his counsel? Illegal immigration is big business in so many ways for those who do not follow our laws. The citizens are left holding the bag for all the entitlement programs for those here illegally...estimate in GA is over $2 BILLION COST.
Julie Smart
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January 09, 2013
King has his facts....You need to get yours straight first, Bucko...........
You're a scumbag --
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January 09, 2013
-- and a traitor who is trying to sell this country out.

I see your name in all these anti-ILLEGAL immigration articles.

Shame on you. My cousin was killed by an illegal alien. You're as much to blame as he is for her death.
Jerryisajerk
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January 09, 2013
Who are you to call him names? I live in Cobb county and am unemployed because of so many illegals working for cheap pay. I think they need to fine companies big money for hiring illegals when there are so many American Tax Payers out of work. I have worked with illegals who got paid cash and didnt pay taxes while I was paying taxes and they would be taking home more money than I did. Im sorry but you need to check your reputation and I agree with anonymous YOU ARE A MUDSLINGER and unless you have made no mistakes in your life be careful of the stones that you throw and we all know about your mistakes and you are only into the illegals for the money it makes you.
Joneyy
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January 09, 2013
Jerry Gonzalez is not only for illegals and open borders, he is aginst having English as the official language of the USA
Judy Manning
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January 09, 2013
Why would Cobb County take advise from man who advocates the breaking of our immigration laws?
CW Mathews
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January 09, 2013
It must be Lee and Cupid are waiting for their pay out from C.W. Mathews. That company receives all the government jobs and has all the hispanics working while the fat supervisors sit around. Pitiful how corrupt politics is these days.
fool me once.....
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January 09, 2013
DA, you are trying to get dishonest politicians to be honest.

Ain't gonna happen.

How many YEARS have they avoided auditing contractors that are disobeying E-Verify laws?

They know,... they can drag things out for years!

Eventually, they'll retire w/ their earnings!

Croy Engineering (connections to Roi, Stoner Max, etc.) has overseen ALL of Smyrna's wasted SPLOST projects.

There need to be an investigation on the Concord Road project! 20 MILLION-- for a MEDIAN???...for a SIDEWALK???? It's been 8 years,... & NOTHINGS been done yet!!! 8 YEARS!!!

WOW!! Wake up people!!!

Croy been right there turning a blind eye to Baldwin Paving, CW, Arcadis, etc.

And Bob Ott is WELL AWARE- but Smyrna,.. doesn't count in Cobb!!

These 'boys' are lining their pockets w/ our money!

Georgia IS number one state in CORRUPTION! Most of the local & federal money is connected to the DOT, the SPLOST & the contractors.

Sorry, but I won't hold my breath....
anonymous
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January 09, 2013
MK is here! You can tell by all the exclamation points!!!!! Nobody else in the world uses so many except for MK!
mk is correct
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January 11, 2013
The corruption is disheartening. I really wish that the 20 Million could be clawed back into our coffers and distributed to other programs, such as maintenance and repair.

We have sidewalks that are so poorly that our fine City of Smyrna is at risk for sidewalks.

As a society, we need to examine the immigration debate and ask ourselves why we are left with no other choice than to scrap it out against other people for the "limited" resources. What happened that suddenly made us all into rats fighting for survival? The FED. The Fed and the Quantitative Easing happened.

Want to END the Immigration Debate AND the Corruption Debate?

1. Like Ms. K., we all should be interested in stamping out corruption. How about a zero-profit mandate for muni projects?

2. End the dependency on slush fund bail-outs for our financial institutions and seek to bail out the local businesses.

3. Provide a better financial education so that citizens are aware of the need to save rather than spend.

Anyway - three magic bullets that can help repair the nation and END the debates.
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