April 2, 2011

Karen I. Bremer, Executive Director, Georgia Restaurant Association sends a letter to her members asking them to try to kill HB 87 - When you read this, remember that E-Verify is free to use

Posted by D.A. King at 2:34 pm [Email the author] [Print This Article] [Email This Article]

See Karen’s letter below, but first, some of those horrid facts…

More than 243,000 employers representing more than 834,000 worksites currently use E-Verify and an average of 1,400 new employers enroll each week.

Click HERE for “E-Verify, an education.”

Please copy and paste the entire column in an email and send it to this character - feel free to call her with any response you may want to share with Karen. Then call your state Senator and make it clear that you are watching and expect a YES vote on the HOUSE version of HB 87.

From: “Karen I. Bremer

Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011

To: Karen I. Bremer

Subject: URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Tell your Legislator to Vote NO on Immigration Bill

URGENT CALL TO ACTION!

Tell our Legislators to vote ‘NO’ on immigration bills SB-40 & HB-87

Dear GRA Members:

I am writing to you today to strongly encourage you to contact your elected officials to VOTE “NO” on immigration bills SB-40 and HB-87.

· It would cost you $127 per employee to use the federal E-verify system (according to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce)

· No safe-harbor with current E-Verify system

· Would make it a felony to transport your employees to a catering job or even to the emergency room

· No one knows how we are going to pay for the enforcement of these bills

· Our sister states are rejecting this type of proposed legislation

· This is a federal issue, not a state issue. Only Congress can fix a broken immigration system

As many of you might have heard, immigration legislation is expected to come across Governor Deal’s desk. If signed into law, these bills would devastate our state’s economy by potentially costing us millions in tourism, convention and international business. As the state of Arizona has already experienced, we do not want our visitors and businesses to view our state as unwelcome. We pride ourselves on our “southern hospitality” and our ability to give our diners wonderful experiences at our restaurants.

We all know times are tough and the economy still has not fully recovered. In the last several months, I have travelled our state and heard everyone’s concerns about the slow economic recovery. Last night, as I left our state Capitol and drove home, I was reminded by the evidence with closed restaurants, businesses and vacant office buildings. As a former restaurant owner, I understand the challenges you are facing. That is why the Georgia Restaurant Association is working hard to make sure that our industry will not be impacted by harmful legislation such as SB-40 and HB-87. But we cannot do it alone.

WE NEED YOUR HELP in telling your legislators that SB-40 and HB-87 would harm our industry! YOUR voice makes all the difference as we are the second largest private employer in Georgia.

Take ACTION NOW: Call, Fax or Email your Elected Official

Step1: Open the attached letter.

Email instruction: Copy wording and paste into email body
Fax instruction: Print out copy of letter to fax

Step 2: Click on the following links to find your State Representatives and Senators and their contact info:

House: http://www.garestaurants.org/representatives
Senate: http://www.garestaurants.org/senators

Don’t know your elected official(s)? Click here to search by your address or zip code- http://www.votesmart.org/official_state.php?state_id=GA&dist=&go2.x=5&go2.y=8

SPREAD THE WORD - send this message to other restaurateurs around the state to get the word out.

For any help, please feel free to call the Georgia Restaurant Association offices at (404) 467-9000.

Sincerely,

Karen

Karen I. Bremer
Executive Director
Karen@garestaurants.org | www.garestaurants.org
(T) 404.467.9000 | (F) 404.467.2206

Georgia Restaurant Association
Piedmont Place | 3520 Piedmont Road | Suite 130 | Atlanta, GA 30305

And here is the attached letter they want sent:
Dear Elected Official:
As you prepare to move into the closing days of this legislative session, we trust that you will navigate the hard issues to keep us strong, safe and on the right economic course. For all of our economic strength, we cannot escape the harsh realities of our nation’s recession which has harmed so many people and businesses in Georgia. Neither can we easily counter the loss of manufacturing and construction jobs in our communities. We believe that our current problem with immigration is very similar and as such, we have come together, as both your constituents and as members of our State Restaurant community, to urge you not to overreach as you attempt to compensate for a failed federal policy.

We want to be very clear that we commend any action that identifies and prosecutes hardened criminals, especially those involved in drugs, trafficking or organized crime. We want the continued enforcement of provision SB 529, as it is the current law that covers access to public services. We also want incentives for large companies to participate in the federal E-verify program and to make improvements in this system. In a recent report, it was estimated that employers (nationally) spent $95 million in 2010 to comply with the E-verify system, concluding that it cost small businesses an average of $127 per new hire to comply. However, we do not support punishing our small businesses, local municipalities and communities for the failure of a federal policy. Simply put, we do not have all of the economic and legal tools required unless we redirect precious resources away from other critical issues and place the economic burden on our local communities.
We believe that the economic consequences of this bill are so potentially severe that it could damage our international and domestic reputation for current and future business. As the state’s second largest private employer after agriculture, restaurants provide Georgians with up to 385,000 jobs that result in $14.1 billion in sales; thereby contributing $962 million in taxes to our state’s income. Arizona has already suffered a loss of up to $217 million in tourism and convention business as a result of their law passage. Our sister states would certainly welcome the opportunity to host our potentially lost convention business should the bill pass. Atlanta competes directly with cities like Charlotte, New Orleans, and Orlando – all in states which have recognized the crippling effect to their recovering economic engines. It is hard to place a price on these consequences, but if we lose even one significant opportunity because of being perceived in the wrong manner, then it is one consequence too many.

The restaurant community is prepared to work with you to solve the immigration issue. Let us lead a trip to Washington to demand action from our federal delegation. Let us put permanent working groups in place to improve E-verify and work with law enforcement to target and rid our state and country of dangerous criminals. Finally, let restaurants be a partner in finding the common solution that keeps our state economically strong and strengthens our reputation as a leader.