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HUFFINGTON POST LATINO VOICES: Republican Mayor Paul Bridges, An Unlikely Ally In The Fight Against Anti-Immigration Laws

HUFFINGTON POST LATINO VOICES: Republican Mayor Paul Bridges, An Unlikely Ally In The Fight Against Anti-Immigration Laws
By Trymaine Lee
March 1, 2012
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/01/republican-mayor-paul-bri_n_1313862.html?ref=latino-voices
Those fighting against Georgia’s expanding anti-immigration laws have gained an unlikely comrade in the Republican mayor of a small town in the southern part of the state.
Mayor Paul Bridges of Uvalda has come out in a recent video condemning anti-immigration law H.B. 87 as the stuff of “hate-mongers,” saying if anything the bill is un-Republican. Bridges, who raises goats in Uvalda, which happens to be best known for being the Vidalia onion capital of the south, made the statements on a video produced by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Uyalda is an agriculture town, and an influx of Hispanic workers, many of them immigrants, has bolstered the local economy, Bridges said in the video. When H.B. 87 was introduced, many of them fled the state. And it also drove out non-Hispanics who were part of their families.
Bridges joined the ACLU in a lawsuit against the state to try to stop the law from being enacted.
“I am a Republican and I believe in the ideals of the Republican party, but everything about H.B. 87 is non-Republican, and they titled this bill anti-immigration, but they should have titled that bill, anti-business. They should have titled that bill, lets grow the government,” Bridges said in the video. “If we just accept the rhetoric being spewed by the radical people and the hate mongers… if you look at what it does to the economy, what it does to the social aspects of our society, you will find that the anti-immigration law is horrible. It’s as bad as any law that Georgia has created.”
Bridges said the unjustly punishes people for trying to be good neighbors, good Samaritans, and for making “simplest acts of kindness criminal acts,” according to the ACLU website.
According to the ACLU:
People lend each other rides to the grocery store and invite friends over for neighborly dinners, and do not think to ask for their “papers” before doing so. Mr. Bridges is one of those people, opening his home to those who work in the fields and often giving friends a ride to the doctor or church, some of whom may be undocumented. But under Georgia’s law, these simple acts of kindness become criminal acts.
The ACLU is in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals today to challenge the constitutionality of laws in Georgia and Alabama, which it says are discriminatory, so-called “show me your papers” laws.