The Georgia Senate passed a bill on Thursday that targets illegal immigrants who are arrested for and convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The bill, Senate Bill 162, would make a first-time DUI offense a felony if committed by an illegal immigrant. Normally in Georgia, a first-time DUI offense is a misdemeanor charge.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, under Senate Bill 162, illegal immigrants convicted of DUI could face fines between $1,000 and $5,000 as well as one to five years in prison.
According to the AJC, the bill’s sponsor was Republican Sen. William Ligon Jr., R-Waverly. He said that he introduced the bill to make the roads safer and that the bill came out of his experience as a municipal court judge. In his experience as a judge, he said he found that many people who came before him on DUI charges were also in the U.S. illegally.
Some Senators questioned whether the bill was targeting certain ethnic groups, according to the AJC, but Ligon said that was not true. Senators also criticized Ligon for not including Georgia DUI statistics in his bill to help them decide whether it would be a worthwhile measure to pass.
Senate passes bill targeting illegal immigrants with DUIs (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)