Latinos speak out against Cherokee County ordinance

Atlanta Latino/Eugenia Miranda/[[November 30, 2006]]/ link

Hispanic and non-Hispanic Cherokee County residents, Latino community leaders, lawyers, religious groups and corporate representatives showed up to voice their opinions about an ordinance that would keep undocumented residents from renting apartments or homes in Cherokee County.

Commissioner Karen Mahurin introduced an ordinance a few weeks ago that would fine landlords and even possibly suspend their licenses if they do not verify the immigration status of every tenant they rent to.

More than 100 people attended the public hearing last week, and about another 100 were left outside the Cherokee County Justice Center's jury assembly room, where the meeting was held.

...Jerry Gonzalez, the executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) attended the meeting...

...Christopher Taylor, a partner in the law firm [[Hernan, Taylor & Lee]] spoke also spoke about the U.S. constitution and told the Commission that it was not in their powers to undertake such an ordinance. He questioned the constitutionality of it.

...Pastor Manny Fernandez of the Rock Woodstock Church recited versus from the Bible that teach tolerance and empathy for "aliens."...

...Sharon Donnelly, the regional manager for Signature Management, an apartment management corporation, stated before the Commission, "If you pass this bill are we prepared to deal with an extreme homelessness situation? (other scare tactics deleted)..."

Richard Chambers, the vice chairman of El Banco Corporation, asked the Commission to consider the sales tax revenues and the impact that the influx of workers has had on the local economy.


...Former Mexican Consul General Teodoro Maus supported the idea that a legal team needs to get together to challenge this ordinance. "We have to grow now because they are hitting us from every which way and we keep letting them. It can't be that we just count on faith and good heartedness. We now have to act as a community with the strength that we have," said Maus.

Tisha Tallman, the former regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), spoke about three other cases of local governments in California, Texas and Pennsylvania who are enacting similar laws. She called into question the constitutionality of the laws and suggested that legal action will follow, if this ordinance is passed.

Taylor also agreed that a group of lawyers will take on the case, pro-bono, if the ordinance goes into effect. Adelina Nicholls, known in the Latino community as "La Coordinadora" stirred the momentum of participation and said that the community now has to get together to plan a course of action and resistance against this ordinance.