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Immigration laws need humanity
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    Recently, a gravely ill man in our community sought treatment for internal bleeding at an area hospital. When this man could not produce a Social Security card or a green card, the doctor treating him notified immigration authorities. Despite the frantic pleas of this man's wife, the immigration agents removed the man from his IV drips, handcuffed him and took him to jail. There, the man's medical condition worsened significantly, necessitating emergency transport to another critical care hospital.
    Last year the Georgia State Legislature passed a series of laws attempting to promote immigration reform. As concerned citizens and academicians we believe that there are egregious flaws with the laws passed and with the ways in which these laws are being interpreted and enforced.
    One of the many problems with the law is the federal deputization of state and local officials as well as a whole range of other professionals, including health care providers, who are being pressed into the role of "immigration enforcers." Turning the federal responsibility to combat illegal immigration over to local officials raises very serious constitutional questions including the due process guarantees of people living within our borders. Just as critically, such practices raise troubling questions about the kind of society in which we wish to live. Taking a seriously ill person from a hospital and placing him in jail without regard to his health or well-being is unconscionable, no matter what his or her documentation status. We do not believe this is an acceptable practice. We also object to other unprovoked actions by local "immigration enforcers", actions that have included the searching of people's homes or vehicles without provocation and questioning a person's resident status simply because of the way the person looks or because of the language s/he speaks.
    We believe that these practices are unsound, self-defeating and unlikely to move us toward a humane and comprehensive solution to undocumented immigration to the United States. The current immigration enforcement practices represent a serious challenge to our federal system as well as to our constitutional guarantees to life, liberty and privacy, and in the end no one wins.
Members of the Committee for Tolerance and Collaborating Communities. Georgia Southern University
Dr. Debra Sabia, Professor, Department of Political Science
Dr. Laura Shelton, Assistant Professor, Department of History
Dr. Robert Yarbrough, Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Geography
Dr. Rebecca Kennerly, Assistant Professor, Communication Arts Department
Dr. Mondi Mason, Assistant Professor, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health
Dr. Elizabeth Brown, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology Department
Dr. Lori Amy, Associate Professor, Writing and Linguistics Department
Dr. Michelle llaherland, Assistant Professor, Department of History
Dr. Sony Huber-Humes, Assistant Professor, Writing and Linguistics Department
Ms. Janelle Wiley, Student
Mr. Mike Bess, Student
Ms. Jenni Dowling, Student
Ms. Tracy Weiss, Student
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