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Senate immigration committee hosts public hearing tonight
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Immigration public hearing

What: Business, political and community leaders and faith-based organizations are invited to share their observations on the impact of immigration and the economy in their communities.
When: 7-9 p.m. today
Where: Georgia Mountains Center, 301 Main St. SW, Gainesville
Cost: Free 

A state Senate immigration committee will be in Gainesville at 7 tonight to get an idea of how people in the business community feel about immigration bills currently in the legislature.

The Senate Special Committee on Immigration and Georgia's Economy chose the Georgia Mountains Center for its second public hearing in the state.

Sen. Curt Thompson, D-Tucker, said the committee held a similar hearing in Warner Robins last month and plans to hold hearings in Savannah and Lawrenceville as well.

Thompson said anyone is welcome at the hearing and doesn't have to testify to attend. But he hopes people will share their situations and provide the senators with a better idea of how immigration legislation would affect people.

The Georgia legislature is considering legislation that would strengthen the enforcement of federal immigration programs like E-Verify, a database through which business owners can use to check if new employees are eligible to work in the U.S.; give incentives to state and local police to participate in federal immigration enforcement programs such as 287(g), which allows local officials to check the immigration status of those arrested for other crimes; and punishes people who encourage illegal immigrants to enter Georgia and then transport or conceal them when they arrive.