Packed house in Gainesville

The first of two Georgia Congressional hearings on immigration policy was held today in Gainesville. AccessNorthGa.com has some details:

“We do not have enough days this week to over all the bad parts of that Senate Bill,” (Congressman Charlie) Norwood said. “It is the worst piece of legislation I’ve seen in 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. You can rest assured it is not becoming law, we’re not going to let that happen.”

Congressman Nathan Deal of Gainesville said an immigration bill must protect the borders and American workers against illegal immigrants before Congress can consider a guest worker provision for illegals already living and working in the U.S.

“Why would anybody want to come to a program that has a time limit fix as to how you can be here if you can continue to come across the border?” Deal asked.

Not everyone was happy today as the article points out:

Hispanic community groups complained on Monday that they had been left off the witness list. Norwood made no apologies for that.

“What I wanted was witnesses who agree with me, not disagree with me,” Norwood said.

Anyone have any eyewitness reports?

45 comments

  1. jsm says:

    I was left standing outside the building with about 40 or 50 others when the hearing room filled up, not counting those who drove by and left after seeing the line. I arrived about 20 minutes early, and I was pretty disappointed that there was no plan to offer even closed circuit viewing of the hearing in an overflow room.

    I’m glad there was such strong interest in the hearing, but I am very disappointed with the poor planning for the crowd.

  2. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    At least Charlie Norwood can admit that he’s not interested in having a public debate about immigration – rather he’s decided to hold some xenophobic pep rallies.

    And he calls it a ‘hearing’. Hah. More like an informercial.

    Many more Latino Georgians probably wished to attend but got caught up, I don’t know, working perhaps?

  3. jsm says:

    I saw many Latinos go in the building–don’t know if they’re Georgians. People find time for what is important to them.

    Opposing ILLEGAL immigration is not xenophobic. It’s patriotic.

  4. Demonbeck says:

    Overincorporated Fulton,

    Many legal Latino Georgians have as much a problem with illegal immigrants as Charlie Norwood does. They are tired of people from their home countries making them look bad. It’s hard for a legal Mexican immigrant to be proud of his/her heritage when the first thing any person they meet wonders is if they are legal or not. Does that make them xenophobic too?

  5. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    “They are tired of people from their home countries making them look bad.”

    You know, I don’t know exactly what about seeking opportunity and working hard to build a new life makes one ‘look bad’, but my opinion is that anyone who holds that point of view is part of the problem, not the solution.

    Look, the larger point here has nothing to do with Charlie Norwood or even the question of legality for that matter. The hubub about illegal immigration cannot be anything but xenophobia. Demonbeck, if your problem is simply that people are here illegally, why not advocate a means by which they can become legal rather than focusing all of your energies on convincing people that they shouldn’t be here period? Wouldn’t it be much easier to change a legal designation than to ship 11 million people out of the country?

    The answer is that your problem probably isn’t legality. I don’t know you, so I won’t put words in your mouth. However, my simple observation about this debate is that xenophobes are using this question of legality as a cover to attack people who do not look or sound like they do.

    Georgia has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Illegal immigrants are not taking ‘our’ jobs, so what do we have to fear?

  6. Demonbeck says:

    “Wouldn’t it be much easier to change a legal designation than to ship 11 million people out of the country?”

    Yes, it would, but this isn’t a question about what’s easy. It’s a question about what is right.

    There are steps immigrants can take to come here legally and work. Georgia’s agribusinesses benefit a great deal from migrant workers – many of whom are legal aliens. I have no problem with legal aliens. Frankly, I have no problems with aliens who come here to work honestly. However, there is no way to distinguish between the honest and dishonest – when it comes to individual immigrants or the businesses who hire them.

    As a result, we MUST worry about who is coming over the border unannounced and undocumented.

    Your points about xenophobes is duly noted. Yes this issued is sullied by folks who don’t like anyone who doesn’t have the same color of skin as them. I don’t think anyone would argue that point with you.

    I also agree that 99.9% of the jobs covered by illegal aliens in Georgia are jobs that most Georgians would be unwilling to do.

    Again, however, this is not about jobs, this is about security. The bill passed by the General Assembly this session is exactly what Georgia needed to do. I think it does create an unfair burden, however, on legal immigrants, but I don’t have a better solution.

  7. jsm says:

    Fulton,
    Your argument seems very narrowminded. This issue is not driven by people who don’t like others who have a different skin color. It’s driven by people seeing the economic drag illegal aliens are creating. Estimates that 80% of illegals are Mexican reinforces the idea that people equate illegal immigration with Mexican people. Therefore, people see hispanics in public and frown on them because they immediately think of illegal immigration and economic harm. This is not xenophobia–it’s the nature of intelligent humans to learn from observation.

    I invite you to move to Hall County and live among the illegal immigrant population. You’ll see the blatant disregard that is generally demonstrated toward the personal property of local businesses and private citizens as well as the tendency to take advantage of every opportunity for free medical care, food, and other services from our government.

    Illegally “seeking opportunity and working hard to build a new life” is bad and does make someone ‘look bad’. This is a right and wrong issue, and I’m amazed at liberals’ willingness to overlook what’s right and wrong to appease the vocal masses.

    I disagree that 99.9% of jobs done by illegals are those that most Georgians are unwilling to do. Someone did them before illegals took them over, and legal workers would continue to do them for the right wages and benefits.

    The United States cannot continue to pander to its enemies and those who wish to take advantage of our Nation. Standing up to illegal immigrants is long overdue.

  8. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    Demonbeck,

    I understand and sympathize with your point about security. I think, however, that most illegal immigrants, given the choice to enter the United States legally would do so if the process were not as cumbersome, costly, and limited.

    I am an American citizen who will soon be emigrating to another country on temporary basis. As an American, I am accorded special privileges in this process, so on a relative scale, it’s been fairly easy. By easy, I mean that is has cost me more than $500 and required an out-of-state trip for a personal meeting with immigration officials.

    Illegal immigrants often do not have the resources, financial or otherwise, to complete the legal entry process into the United States. If the goal is not to limit LEGAL immigration, but rather to accord legal status efficiently and quickly to those who wish to enter, we need to reform our immigration procedures to make it easier for people to come here legally. That way, immigrants are legal and the country is secure because we know who everyone is. What’s wrong with that? Instead of spending millions to build fences and hire more border patrol agents, why not revolutionize immigration processing?

  9. John Konop says:

    Overincorpated,

    Do you think we should have open boarders for workers as long as they regerster ?

    If the illegal immigrants are only taking jobs Americans would not , why have wages gone down in construction,painters……. ? Does this not fly in the face of supply and demand ?

    How do you account for the illegals using fake SS# in your unemployment #s? The amount of fake cards was 10mm in 2004 and growing. We count them as job creation and not as people living here.Do you understand the math problem ?

    When all the people come here on wages to low for healthcare,taxes for schools……. who should pay?

  10. dingleberry says:

    We should close our borders to all them dern Mexicans, and Arabs, and Canadian Hippies who wanna come in here and take our jobs. I tell you whut, I was getting off work from the Wal-Mart th’ other day and a dern illegal alien ambushed me in the parkin lot and stole my job. I dunno what this country’s a comin’ to.

  11. Demonbeck says:

    Fulton,

    You are correct. We should burn down the INS and start over from scratch with a more efficient and effective immigration and naturalization service right after we do the same thing to the IRS.

    I agree that the INS causes as many illegal immigrants as our unpatrolled borders do. The answer, though, is not one or the other. The answer is fixing them both at the same time.

  12. GabrielSterling says:

    Chris:

    The Democrats have hearings where they only have those that agree with them. There is nothing stopping the Dem delegation from having a pro-illegal immigration hearing.

    These hearings (nearly all of them on both sides) aren’t about debates, they are about educating and drawing needed attention to the issue.

    The only difference between being in the majority or the minority is the subpoena power of the committee, which doesn’t come in to play in this case.

  13. jbh says:

    For Gabriel – your comment about the minority being allowed to convene hearings without the majority’s consent – not the case. I know this because I worked in congress for over a decade. In fact, the minority party cannot even get its own witnesses absent approval by the majority.

    As to the substance of the hearing, there’s little doubt what this is – which is to gin up opposition to what is largely President Bush’s immigration plan, and to turn out a base of voters.

  14. GabrielSterling says:

    I worked on the Hill as well, and I remember Conyers, Dingell and Major Owens having “hearings” all the time with nothing but other Dems and union leaders as “witnesses”.

    Also, I just read the article. Here is an excerpt:

    “as the panel heard testimony from opponents and supporters of a U.S. Senate bill on immigration reform.”

    And there was a Democrat committee member there as well. Most of those quoted in testimony from the article support the flawed Senate bill.

    This was in no way an “Anti-illegal immigration pep rally”.

  15. Mad Dog says:

    JSM,

    “You’ll see the blatant disregard that is generally demonstrated toward the personal property of local businesses and private citizens.”

    It’s kind of harsh to assume or assert that all vandalism is from illegal Mexican immigrants. Maybe that is not what you meant. And, anyone reading this should read his whole post before making any snap judgements.

    He also says, “as well as the tendency to take advantage of every opportunity for free medical care, food, and other services from our government.” I wonder where JSM gets proof of this “tendency?”

    I am saying JSM has displayed prejudice, perhaps even racism, even if that wasn’t what he meant to do.

    At the worst, it’s an unconscious “those people don’t have the right values” attitude. “Those people” being Mexicans.

    JSM clearly states “This is a right and wrong issue.”

    Would you care to be judged in such black and white terms? You’re either criminal or you’re not?

    If we’re going to use the Bible as foundational for all our laws, only those without sin can be non-criminal … since breaking the law is a sin and any sin is against the law.

    Sort of playing up the God as lawmaker angle. But, if God is the source of all laws, then all sin is criminal, must be punished, no forgiveness. No gray area.

    Then the other side, if God is lawmaker, when did he draw a map with any border lines? Those born here go to Hell. Those born here go to Heaven.

    Never.

    There is always an under current of racism or nationalism in an immigration debate.

    Just to repeat myself. I’m not saying JSM is a racist. I’m saying his reason for discriminating against Mexicans might just as well be nationalism, a mental defect, or a failure of authority.

    I see him as saying, those people don’t belong here unless they were born here. (and God doesn’t want them people here or they would have been born here!)

    It’s the ‘those people’ part of it that has racial overtones.

    Those people who live in the ghetto? Those people who live and shop in Little Mexico?

    Who exactly are the people who were supposed to be born here?

  16. jsm says:

    Mad Dog,

    I am not racist or prejudice, and you’re wandering into territory you don’t want to be in.

    The desire to maintain our Nation’s borders and control immigration is not racist. It’s a matter of national security, no matter one’s color or nationality.

    I have seen the proof of everything I stated with my own eyes. In fact, I have friends on the board of NE GA Medical Center who can recite to you unbelievably enormous numbers regarding the unrecouped costs to treat illegal aliens. The hospital cannot refuse them treatment, and this drives up medical costs for me AND YOU.

    You have no right to put words in my mouth, especially to make me appear to be racist. You made up more of what I was “saying” than you quoted from me. You speak for yourself! I’ll speak for myself, and I’ll be judged on my own words.

    I don’t know where you’re going with the stuff about the Bible. God did give governments the right to draw up their own laws, and the United States has the right to make laws for its protection. Immigration laws are made for our protection, and they need to be enforced. That’s why this is a right and wrong issue. Breaking the law is wrong, no matter who you are.

  17. Mad Dog says:

    JSM,

    Never said you were racist. I said there were other explanations for your demostration of prejudice.

    I think you’re over reacting to my statements about how your post can be interpreted

    You were and still are over-stating any point that you’re trying to make. but if you would make a point, quote those numbers from your friends on the board? That would be very important information to a discussion.

    But, stating that illegals have certain tendencies or characteristics … without any examination or discussion other than what you’ve seen with your own eyes … has little merit.

    You’ve seen illegals committ vandalism and did nothing? Now you need other people to stand up to them? And, you live among them? Because of what you’ve seen where you live, you can rightfully judge the values and tendencies of all people from Mexico, especially the illegal immigrant Mexican?

    I think your posting harms the discussion more than it helps. it especially harms the point of view that the immigration is not about race.

    Maybe if you stop imputing or ascribing negatives beyond breaking the law into your arguments, no one could call you racist.

  18. jsm says:

    Mad Dog,

    Do some reading. These would be a good start:
    http://www.ghcc.com/news/news_details.asp?news_id=415
    http://www.msm.edu/ncpc/publications/GAHealthSafety.pdf#search=%22immigrant%20indigent%20care%20northeast%20georgia%22

    I have not overstated any point. You’re making a habit of overstating and adding to my points.

    Regarding the vandalism question… Yes, I saw illegals vandalize and did nothing more than tell the business owner what I saw. “[S]tand[ing] up to them” could have caused me physical harm. I never attributed anything to “all people from Mexico.” Once again, you put words in my mouth.

    Make your argument instead of changing mine.

  19. jsm says:

    Mad,

    Can you not read? I can’t believe I’m having to do this.

    In Romans 13:1, the next phrase says, “the powers that be are ordained of God.”

    Verses 3 & 4: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: (4)”For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

  20. flamingmoderate says:

    JSM,

    Give it up, man. It’s obvious that without a set of magic markers and construction paper, you’ll never get the point across to Mad Dog.

  21. Mad Dog says:

    flaming,

    That and some numbers from his friends on the board would help.

    Make sure you get the newer colors. Just avoid the pastels.

    Red and black also look good together.

  22. Mad Dog says:

    JSM,

    You’re still making my point.

    If God is the authority for all of man’s laws, breaking the law is a sin.

    Neither of your posted links lead to any documentation of what illegals cost the health care system in Georgia.

    Uninsured is not the same as illegal immigrant.

    Sorry I have to point that out.

  23. Mad Dog says:

    I’m willing to let other people make that judgement. Not a problem.

    But, if you think uninsured means illegal, you have more than time management issues.

  24. Mad Dog says:

    GEORGIA’S HEALTH SAFETY NET
    ACCESS TO PRIMARY CARE
    FOR GEORGIA’S UNINSURED
    AND UNDERSERVED

    Does not contain the word illegal. Not even once.

    Neither does the other webpage from Hall County.

    Indigent is not the same as illegal, either.

    Very sorry I have to point that out.

    The immigrant populations being mentioned are not the illegal population. Neither “read” has numbers on what illegals cost the health care system.

  25. Mad Dog says:

    Why don’t you call up your friends on the board have them give you those numbers you mentioned?

  26. jsm says:

    I’m hearing about $25million in 2004.

    From Accessnorthga on the Dalton congressional hearing on illegal immigration:

    “Jim Gardner Jr., CEO of Northeast Georgia Health System in Gainesville, told the panel that the Hispanic population in Hall County has grown from 1 percent in 1980 to more than 24 percent in 2004, and that 33 percent of that population is uninsured.

    “He said the hospital regularly sees illegal immigrant patients with chronic health problems who were encouraged by family members to come to the U.S. because loopholes in the law make it easy to get government funded care.”

    http://www.accessnorthga.com/news/ap_newfullstory.asp?ID=79030

  27. Tommy_a2b says:

    I do not know where to start so I’ll start with maybe I’m a nationalist. I think the illegals should leave or least move to Canada (free meds up there in the frozen north.) My problem with the bulk of the illegals is that they have very little desire to become Americans. I would say give them all amnisty if they wanted to integrate and assimilate (sp?) into US culture. What they want is to make money until they get to a level they think is adequate to move back to Mexico. The problem with this is there culture. Work ethic is way more important than education so they come here, work hard, have lots of kids (who are US citizens), and desire to move back to Mexico one day. Notice I said dsire to move back. As their children grow up and see how much better they have it here in the US (being at some point they visit Mexico and see where their parents came from) they stay or tell their families they are staying as they become adults. Then the original parents stay because they do not want to leave their children and now probably grand children. I say all of this to go back to what their original priorities where. Education was never a priority with the first generation so the second generation is typically poorly educated. Now you have a whole generation of poorly educated people who work at the lowest level of job if at all. This causes a problem for everyone due to the fact that they receive social services (and reproduce like rabbits) consuming tax $ like gasoline in a V8. So it really boils down as I see it that we are allowing a huge population of poorly educated people with no real desire to be Nationalistic US Americans. So lets send them all to Canada!

  28. Mad Dog says:

    JSM,

    Not a bad article. Pretty fair reporting. Better than I expected given the source, which is public news.

    What the discussion really lacks on this web site and in public is hard numbers.

    The article really makes that clear. We have some efforts ongoing to find out how much of an impact indigent immigrants have on the health care system.

    To be honest, I don’t think the information is being gathered for just illegals. Estimates are being made. Those could be low or high. Nobody really knows.

    The general assumption is that any information gathered would be under-reported instead of over reported. Possible reasons include language barriers, false identification, ID switching, self-reporting, and the problems generally of gathering information from an “underground population.”

    $24 million sounds like a lot. Might be. My contacts in Gwinnett talked about one case, just ONE CASE, where total costs exceeded $1 million dollars.

    Again, this type of information can’t be verified. I did get to see the files. There were several files on one man. The man died from work related head injuries. No one even knew his name. He was put in a truck and dropped off at the eroom of Gwinnett Medical Center.

    Again, I want to stress that I can’t verify all the details of the story. I don’t know that GMC spent $1 million dollars caring for a nameless illegal immigrant.

    I do know there are several files on the care and treatment of one man at GMC. The alleged story is that he had a work related head injury and eventually died.

    Maybe someone can verify the details or get GMC to say, no, that never happened.

    I was not allowed to open the files or view any details. I can only say I saw the files in the medical records department. The medical records staff filled me in on these details. This was back in 2001 before 9/11.

    I don’t even know that it’s possible to spend a million on one person.

    I would be interested in knowing what the numbers are at Grady and other centers, if there are any besides the estimates.

    It still seems to me that most of the information being spread isn’t hard information. Nor, does it look like anyone in an elected position is trying to collect hard, verifiable numbers.

  29. Mad Dog says:

    Tommy,

    I like the post. I think most of us have some nationalistic leanings. Outsiders say we really have strong nationalistic leanings.

    What I hear is that the people in the “States” call themselves Americans. “Don’t those ‘Americans’ understand that everyone on the continent is an American?” (You’re supposed to laugh now)

    I guess they can’t call themselves Europeans? (Did you laugh that time?)

    Canada is trying to attract more people. As a country, their population is declining. Australia has a very similar problem. They want unskilled workers to immigrate. The minimum wages is somewhere around $12 US. When cost of living adjustments are made, allegedly that’s the same as making $28,000 here in the ‘States.”

    Plus prostitution is legal, everyone carries a gun on their hip, and they have the best beer. (Starting rumors)

    About the ‘illegals’ wanting to become Americans… whew. Does anybody from another country want to be an American right now? (that’s purely rhetorical)

    Maybe the question is: Are they running away from something or running towards something?

    Might be interesting to try and answer that.

  30. jsm says:

    Mad Dog,

    It’s nice to agree with you. Although hospital board members are aware of the cost to treat illegals, they and the hospital don’t want to be quoted regarding those numbers. The NE GA Health System also does not publish hard numbers, and I can only speculate about the reasoning behind that. It may be, just as you said, that verifying actual accurate numbers is nigh impossible.

  31. Mad Dog says:

    JSM,

    Thanks. Nice to agree with you, too.

    Humana writes off about a billion a year in bad accounts. I don’t know how many hospitals they operate. I hate going through numbers or I’d look some of that up.
    (Maybe $1.4 – $1.5 billion in write offs).

    To trot out my personality defects … I wonder if hospitals have something to gain by not showing those numbers? (I’m very near communistic on corporations)

    It could well be that it has become usual and customary practice to bill some government units for some of the costs (I don’t know anything about billing of Medicaid or Medicare or Welfare).

    If you understand about what I mean by usual and customary. I’m not ever going to say how I learned about THAT!

    It could be innocent enough that someone billed a government subdivision for ‘unpaid services to indigent clients’ and got paid. Now, it has become customary to bill for all ‘indigent clients’ …

    The people I know in the hospital systems are NOT going to discuss that with me! Some doctors might tell me what they think. But, not the people doing the billing or supervising the billing process. (I have worked in medical records management through an outside contractor)

    I’m currently doing an analysis of MAG Mutual. They write about 40% of medical malpractice in Georgia. One annual report has over 125 pages, mostly numbers! It’s the one they file with the state. I’m very curious to see how they justify borrowing money overseas when they have half a billion in short term investments earmarked for loss reserves (or some account like that).

    I’ve heard rumors that the GOP candidates are going to talk numbers on tort reform benefits in the election. That I have to see.

    My sources say Nancy Shaefer in the 50th already spoke in Banks County about how many new ob/gyns moved to Georgia (or it might have been the 50th) after tort reform.

    Can any one confirm that for me?

    BTW, if she did … she make making up numbers. Challenge me on that. hehehe

    JSM,

    I think we could pull some good numbers together. It would be just an estimate.

    We would have to know write offs for indigents. Percent of minorities for area serviced. Percent of minorities illegal or undocumented. And, then percent of bills paid in cash at time of service.

    We could get some very rough numbers out of that. Most cash payments would be suspicious and perhaps from underground peoples. If hospitals are even taking cash payments!

    I know some very bad E-room stories about cash. Women who have been raped won’t always give a real name … or even tell the intake nurse the real reason they came to the emergency room.

    So paying in cash can hide quite a few things.

Comments are closed.