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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    GA: Driving just got riskier for undocumented immigrants

    Driving just got riskier for undocumented immigrants
    Newly trained state law enforcement officers set to crack down

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Published on: 10/16/07

    Drivers license bureaus and Georgia roads are becoming riskier places for illegal immigrants.

    About two dozen drivers license investigators, state troopers and GBI agents have completed federal training to determine a suspect's legal status in the United States and, if necessary, start deportation proceedings.

    Until now, the Cobb County Sheriff's Office has been the only police agency in Georgia to train with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Cobb began deporting inmates from its jail in July.

    The newly trained officers — three driver's license fraud investigators, 14 state troopers and five Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents — will start work over the next few months. Some are waiting for computer access to federal immigration data.

    In addition, this year's state budget provides $537,860 to hire 10 new driver's license fraud investigators for centers around the state.

    GBI already has its three-man team in place and has started investigations, said GBI director Vernon Keenan. The state budget provided $201,996 for those positions. Two other agents who took the ICE training will be assigned to a homeland security unit separate from driver's license issues, Keenan said.

    Counterfeiters use expensive equipment to make IDs and charge a high price, he said. "They're making everything. Immigration papers, birth certificates, Social Security cards. You name it."

    Fraud investigators at the state's driver's license offices see a lot of fake Social Security cards and federal I-94 documents, said Rick Miller, director of investigations for the Department of Driver Services.

    The I-94, known as the Arrival-Departure Record, is a white card issued to visitors to the U.S. showing how long they can legally stay. Georgia issues licenses to visitors for the time period that their I-94s are valid.

    Many legal tourists become illegal residents when they overstay the time allotted on the I-94.

    Agents with driver services intend to apply the letter of the law to those with fake documents, which is a felony, Miller said.

    "They've got a fraudulent document, they've committed a felony, and they're going to jail," he said.

    While they're at it, agents can determine legal status and initiate deportation proceedings, Miller said.

    Three driver's license fraud investigators with deportation powers should be ready to start in a few months. They are awaiting passwords and access to federal computers, he said.

    The department also will hire 10 more fraud investigators, for a total of 21, who will work out of driver's license offices around the state. It's not clear if they will take deportation training.

    About 70 percent of the document fraud cases made by driver services last quarter were immigration-related. Investigators see other instances of fraud, such as underage people who try to appear older so they can buy alcohol, Miller said.

    The state patrol has trained 14 troopers, but for now, most will call into a federal hotline to obtain immigration information on a suspect because they won't be near jails with federal computers. When they take suspects to nearby jails on criminal charges, troopers can place a hold on suspects for possible immigration violations.

    "There's no plan for us to go out and be rounding folks up," said State Patrol Lt. Kermit Stokes, who took the training. "If [troopers] come across someone who's a bad person and they shouldn't be in the country anyway — then we can work on the deportation side of it too."

    The new focus on fake documents is a result of Senate Bill 529, Georgia's crackdown on illegal immigration, and Gov. Sonny Perdue's "Secure ID" initiative.

    "Our efforts are going to be greatly increased. You're going to see more prosecutions because of Secure ID than you have in the past," said Miller, of driver services.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member LegalUSCitizen's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    Go Georgia!
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  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Central Valley, California
    That should be the way it is in all states. I wish it were here in California. I went to the store without my wallet before and I drove back home 4 miles to get it. Not for the money but for the license. I was afraid of being pulled over.

  4. #4
    Senior Member LegalUSCitizen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    When it comes to "laws", Georgia really does enforce them. It's just the way it is here.

    In Florida you can speed, you can make a U-turn, you can run a red light or a stop sign and a lot of other things right in front of the police. They just drive right by you and ignore you. I don't think it's that the police themselves don't want to do their jobs, it's just that they're usually enroute to something super serious, like a homicide, bank robbery....

    But in Georgia if you speed, U-turn, run a red light, stop sign.......let's put it this way.....they're gonna get you ONE way or the OTHER. It's just a given.
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    The surrounding states need to adopt these same programs and actions to begin to rid the whole southeast of the illegal alien invasion.

    So happy for Georgia and for Legal .

    Psalm 139:14
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

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  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Central Texas
    i'm moving to Georgia...
    "We are being destroyed from within"

  7. #7
    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    This is great, what a shame some states refuse to enforce the laws and are divideing the country on the illegal immigration issue, why can't they all at the very least enforce the laws we already have!!

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