Immigration Laws Causing Serious Paperwork Bottlenecks In Some States
A new immigration law in Georgia is causing substantial problems when licensing health care workers and other professionals in the state because of increased paperwork requirements. And Georgia isn’t alone in dealing with the paperwork crush, as other states also are implementing similar immigration laws.
The Georgia law requires anyone applying for a new or renewed professional license to prove that they are living legally in the U.S., using what the government considers “secure and verifiable” documents, such as driver’s licenses, U.S. passports, green cards, or other government-issued IDs (similar to, but not necessarily the same as the ID requirements for notarial acts).
Prior to the new law, the state’s 475,000 licensed professionals could obtain or renew their licenses through an automated process. Now, each application step requires hand-checking for proper documents. In addition, budget cuts have reduced the licensing department’s staff by 30 percent since 2008.
To potentially ease the paperwork crush, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp wants to amend the bill so that the document requirement applies only to first-time applicants.
Alabama is bracing for similar administrative headaches when their new immigration laws are fully implemented. “It will create extra work,” said John Norris, director of the state’s Department of Examiners of Public Accounts. “We’re just not sure how much yet because these agencies have not had a chance to fully comply.”
Alabama is pushing to get the federal government to allow the state to use the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements database to help streamline the process.