February 24, 2017 Radio Commentary

Will Non-Citizens Govern Georgians?

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, February 24, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

I have two serious questions for you. The first: Will someone who is not a U.S. citizen be allowed to govern in Georgia? The second: Should any citizen of the United States or Georgia be governed by someone who is not a U.S. citizen?

Those questions may be decided this session. On January 11th, Republican Representative Brad Raffensperger introduced H.B. 33 to add a new section to three Georgia Code Titles: 36, 45 and 50, to authorize non-U.S.-citizens to be appointed to local public authorities that make policy, spend public money, levy taxes, or assess, impose, or collect fees or charges.

H.B. 33 would authorize six groups of non-citizens to serve in local government: (a) nationals of the United States, (b) lawful permanent residents, (c) aliens with lawful status in the U.S., (d)legal residents of Georgia, (e) active members of the U.S. military, or (f) members of the soldier’s immediate family to hold public office in authorities, school districts, commissions, councils and boards.

The IRS defines those terms as follows: An alien is someone who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national. A U.S. National is a person who owes sole allegiance to the United States. That includes U.S. citizens, and individuals who are not U.S. citizens. A U.S. Citizen is someone born in the U.S.; a person whose parent is a U.S. citizen; a former alien naturalized as a U.S. citizen; and individuals born in Puerto Rico, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands.According to those definitions, H.B. 33 authorizes illegal aliens who join the U.S. military to become public officials that make policy, spend tax money, levy taxes and assess, impose and collect fees or charges from U.S. citizens. Also, according to those definitions, the immediate family – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and, maybe, grandparents – of illegal aliens serving in the U.S. military could become local officials that make policy, spend tax money, levy taxes and assess, impose and collect fees or charges from U.S. citizens.

Those same facts apply to non-citizens who are lawful permanent residents or legal residents of the U.S., regardless of their national origin or their attitude about the U.S.

So, I ask again: Will non-U.S.-citizens be allowed to govern U.S. citizens as public officials in Georgia municipalities, counties, and other entities? Should U.S. citizens living in Georgia be governed by non-U.S.-citizens? I think not! Call Representative Willard at 404 656-5125 and ask him to keep H.B. 33 in his committee. For Georgia Insight, I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.