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Our state has more illegal immigrants than Arizona
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Arizona has held the headlines for its recently passed immigration laws.  Much of the controversy is a result of the federal government passing laws but failing to enforce them. Under President Bush, the government acknowledged that illegal immigration was a problem and set out to build a border fence. Increasing costs led to the apparent demise of that solution. In the minds of many, the problem has become too expensive to ignore. Here are facts which you can check yourselves. 


Illegal immigration is a major issue in many of our communities. The January 2010 report from the Department of Homeland Security contains a state-by-state breakdown of illegal immigrants based on figures through 2009. We have over 480,000 illegal immigrants in our state. That makes Georgia sixth in the nation in illegal immigrants. 


Interestingly, Georgia has more illegal immigrants than Arizona, which is reported to have 460,000. The 480,000 in Georgia is almost equal to the number of residents in Atlanta and represents an increase of 115 percent since 2000. The national increase is 55 percent, and Arizona’s increase is only 43 percent over the same period. Therefore, if someone tries to say that illegal immigration is not a problem in Georgia, these facts from DHS show otherwise.


DHS refers to illegal immigrants as “unauthorized immigrants.”


California remained the leading state of residence of the unauthorized immigrant population in 2009, with 2.6 million. The next leading state, Texas, had 1.7 million unauthorized residents, followed by Florida with 720,000, New York with 550,000 and Illinois with 540,000.


California’s share of the national total was 24 percent in 2009 compared to 30 percent in 2000.


The greatest percentage increases in the unauthorized population between 2000 and 2009 occurred in Georgia (115 percent), Nevada (55 percent) and Texas (54 percent).


DHS estimates that the unauthorized immigrant population living in the United States decreased to 10.8 million in January 2009 from 11.6 million in January 2008.


Between 2000 and 2009, the unauthorized population grew by 27 percent.  Of all unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in 2009, 63 percent entered before 2000, and 62 percent were from Mexico.


Of the 10.8 million reportedly in the U.S. last year, 6.1 million entered during the 10-year period between 1995 and 2004. Almost 10 million unauthorized immigrants have entered the U.S. since 1985.


On a different aspect of homeland security, Georgia has been selected by the Department of Defense as one of 10 states in the nation to host a homeland response force.


These new homeland response forces are to be established in 2012 and will consist of 570 highly trained personnel in each of the 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency regions.


The press release defined the mission as:  “Each HRF will provide a regional response ability composed of all domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosive consequence management capabilities.


HRFs will self-deploy by ground within six to 12 hours of an event, bringing life-saving medical, search and extraction, decontamination, security and command and control capabilities rapidly to bear. 


This represents a dramatic improvement in response time and life-saving capability to the previous construct.”


Georgia’s HRF will have responsibility for the fourth FEMA region responding to incidences in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.


“Georgia’s selection as the home of our region’s homeland response force is another testament to the skill and courage of our Guardsmen,” said Governor Perdue.  “The Georgia National Guard has proven itself time and time again.  I am proud that Georgia will serve as the home for the Southeast homeland response force.”


Now that a new fiscal year is upon us, many of you have asked about FY 2010 and if a special session will be needed.


Last week, Gov. Sonny Perdue announced that net revenue collections for the month of June 2010 (FY 2010) totaled $1,415,998,000 compared to $1,364,350,000 for June 2009 (FY09), an increase of $51,648,000 or 3.8 percent.


The big jump in revenue was a 9.3 percent increase in individual income tax payments in June.


Before we start jumping for joy, however, let’s see what the next two months reveal, because the year-to-year comparison still showed individual income tax revenue down 10 percent. 


Total revenues for the year were down 9.1 percent or about $1.4 billion.


Will there be a special session? I really don’t know. A lot will depend on the next couple of months.


Rep. Amos Amerson can be reached at 689 N. Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533; (706) 864-6589; e-mail Or contact Gerald Lewy at (706) 344-7788.