Crowds rally outside the Georgia State Capitol on Thu., Mar. 24, 2011.
Thousands rallied for immigration rights outside the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday.
Crowds rallied against Georgia's immigration law outside the State Capitol this past Spring.
Thousands have protested Georgia's immigration law. Alabama's law is considered even tougher. (File Photo)
ATLANTA -- The streets surrounding the State Capitol were jammed with protestors Thursday afternoon, rallying for immigration rights. Washington and Mitchell streets and MLK Drive were shut down to handle the foot traffic near the Capitol.
Upwards of 3,000 people standing outside aimed their shouts of "Si se puede! Yes we can!" at Gov. Nathan Deal and lawmakers who support House Bill 87 and Senate Bill 40, which many consider to be Arizona-like immigration bills.
The "Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011" would require businesses to use the E-verify system to insure employees are legal citizens.
It allows an officer that stops a suspect for any crime, including a traffic violation, to check immigration status.
It would make it against the law to knowingly transport an illegal immigrant.
And it requires any agency administering public help to require proof of citizenship.
Protestors gathered Thursday said the won't support and won't comply with the proposed laws. Teodoro Maus, president of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, called the legislation racist.
"You lose all civil rights, all human rights, all constitutional rights. Everything goes out the window," Maus said. "Human beings are not illegal."
D.A. King, president of the Dustin Inman Society, which calls itself "a coalition of citizens for a secure Georgia", said the bills are fair, necessary, legal.
"Everywhere we enforce our immigration and employment laws, illegal aliens migrate out of the area, thereby creating jobs for real, legal immigrants and seeing an uptick in the wages," King said. "Each state has not just the right, but I think the duty to protect its residents."
Maus says Georgia has a lot to lose. "Remember Mexico is the third largest trading partner of Georgia," he said. "It very well could affect the relationship with your state and my country."
Thursday's protestors said they've already compiled a list of companies, groups and celebrities who, they say, have pledged to boycott Georgia if the proposed immigration bills are passed.
The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights has been planning an immigration rally in May, but some Democratic lawmakers suggested they move it to before the vote.