Atlanta's tourism bureau opposes Georgia's proposed immigration law

Flags for the U.S. and the state of Georgia

Kai Ryssdal: It's been about a year since Arizona passed its controversial immigration bill, although key parts of it are still tied up in court. Other states have followed their lead. The governor of Georgia is set to sign a tough new immigration bill. But today, the tourism industry in Atlanta made one last ditch effort to kill it off.

Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler: The Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau today publicly opposed a Georgia bill that would give police more authority to question people about immigration status. The legislation is similar to Arizona's law, but not as broad.

Ron Fennel is with the Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association.

Ron Fennel: It's focused only on criminal activity. It doesn't include county- and municipal-type violations.

Like trespassing or traffic violations. Fennel hopes the immigration debate doesn't keep tourists away. They come from around the world and bring about $10 billion to the local economy each year.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal was asked today if the potential for an economic backlash gives him pause.

Nathan Deal: No, my commitment is to sign the legislation. I think this legislation was crafted to try to make sure we did not infringe on the civil rights of anyone who is lawfully in this country.

Though the governor says he'll sign the bill into law in the next two weeks, immigrant rights groups are planning to protest at the capitol this Sunday.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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