CANTON, Ga. – Commissioners in a suburban Atlanta county are considering fining landlords who rent to illegal immigrants, saying the immigrants strain the schools and other local resources.
The proposal would require property owners to prove their tenants live in Cherokee County legally. Landlords who didn't comply could be fined or lose their business licenses.
Georgia earlier this year approved a wide-ranging crackdown on illegal immigrants, and cities in Texas, California and Pennsylvania have enacted laws to punish landlords who rent to illegal immigrants.
The Cherokee County ordinance would only cover unincorporated areas and would not apply to cities in the county just north of Atlanta.
"That is just stupid talk," said George Ledford, a landlord owns two mobile homes in the county.
Tenants say the proposal is unfair, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund in Atlanta said it would fight it.
County Commissioner Karen Mahurin, who introduced the ordinance last week, said illegal immigrants strain resources such as schools and emergency services.
"It is the local level that pays the bills, and (illegal immigration) has the effect of lowering the quality of life locally," said Mahurin, who hopes the ordinance would discourage illegal immigrants from coming to the county.
The commissioners have not scheduled a vote, and it's unclear when the ordinance would go into effect if approved.
"For those who are illegal like me, taking away housing is like taking away our jobs," said Miguel Rodriguez, who came to Cherokee County illegally from Mexico.