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Atlanta asks Gov. Deal to reconsider immigration bill

ATLANTA - The Atlanta City Council, fearing a serious financial blow to the city's multi-billion-dollar tourism and convention business, is calling on Gov. Nathan Deal to not sign controversial House Bill 87, the Arizona-like legislation that targets illegal immigrants by allowing police to investigate documentation status of suspects.

As in Arizona, council members are concerned that conventions and organizations may begin to boycott Georgia and specifically Atlanta, which is driven by its tourist-based economy.

Councilman C.T. Martin, who drafted a resolution calling for Deal not to sign the bill, went so far as to call HB 87 a "moral problem."

"This is a human issue also," Martin said. "This country was founded on immigration. Why do we all of sudden have no sense of being sensitive to the issue? They ought to slow it down and let's have some real creative level thinking on this issue."

Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that he would sign the sweeping immigration bill, which was passed by the House earlier in the week 112 to 59 largely along party lines. The senate passed it 37-19.

On Tuesday, Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Deal, gave no indication that the governor would be interested in changing his mind.

"The illegal population of Georgia has ballooned over the last decade. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that comes at a huge cost to taxpayers," Robinson said. "We know the federal government has taken no action to crack down on the unregulated flow of undocumented workers into our state or any other. And we know they're taking no steps toward creating a workable permitting program that would allow Georgia to resolve its labor needs while also allowing us to enforce the rule of law. What we have now makes a mockery of the rule of law."