Porsche announced last week that it plans to build a $100 million complex on the site of the former Ford Motors plant in Hapeville near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. It's a huge coup for Georgia, not just because Porsche is one of the world's most highly regarded automakers, but because the announcement comes at a time when the state's economy is otherwise near-stagnant.
Opponents of HB 87, Georgia's new law aimed at illegal immigrants, argued vociferously that the law's E-Verify mandate would constitute a severe hardship on business. As it turned out, those businesses - primarily the chambers of commerce, the hospitality industry and agriculture - proved only that they have no qualms about taking jobs away from U.S. citizens and handing them to illegals, all so that the business can pocket a bigger profit.
Some opponents have even gone so far as to try and hatch a boycott of the state in response to HB 87. But those efforts may be stillborn in light of last week's news that the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials and the Latin American Chamber of Commerce oppose the idea, saying it would hurt Hispanics who work in the state's tourism industry.
Another effort to fight the new law came in recent days with word that Somos Republicans, an Arizona group that roughly translates to "We are Republicans," is lobbying Porsche to bypass Georgia because of the new law. Somos, which purports to build support for Republicans causes and candidates, is openly supportive of the DREAM amnesty act and against laws like Georgia's.
"We urge Porsche to reconsider your choice of Georgia as the site of a new headquarters facility, as we don't believe Georgia has provided an accurate picture of Georgia's economy and the regression into a past era where Georgia experienced some of the worst bigotry in modern times," said an open letter from Somos to Porsche last week.
Replied Porsche flatly: "We are staying in Georgia."
As usual, those without much of an argument to make fall back on crying "Racism!" But Georgia's new law was carefully written to prevent officers from stopping people at random or based on skin color or appearance to ask about their immigration status. And its requirement that those being stopped produce some sort of identification applies to everyone who is stopped in the course of a police investigation into a reported crime, not just to illegals. It's one of the most routine questions that police ever ask, in fact: "Can you please provide some identification, sir?" Those who can't produce ID are up the creek, so to speak, regardless of their immigration status.
The new law goes into effect July 1 in Georgia, which has one of the largest populations of illegal aliens in the country. The law is meant to make the state a less inviting place for illegals by making it more difficult for them to find legal employment. If they then choose to "self-deport" themselves to more hospitable climes, so be it.
In the wake of decades of Washington's deliberate avoidance of the action on immigration reform, some states - Georgia among them - argue they have no choice but to take matters into their own hands.
Porsche is to be saluted for sticking to its guns in its decision to move to our state. That fortitude by such a high-profile company should send a strong signal to others that it Georgia continues to be a great place to do business, HB 87 or no HB 87.