The state Immigration Enforcement Review Board (IERB), in a unanimous vote on Tuesday, found that the city of Atlanta is defying state law. Under its process, the seven-member board will soon set another meeting date to weigh sanctions, which could range from fining the city, fining individual city officials such as the mayor and even cutting appropriations to the city.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 stipulates that cities are supposed to verify that business licenses are only given to citizens or residents who are “lawfully present” in the United States. For-profit businesses must submit Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (“SAVE”) other documents annually, but it is argued that nonprofits (including the Atlanta History Center, which was at the heart of a complaint filed with the panel) need only do so the first time they apply. Atlanta, the panel heard from one of the city’s lawyers, doesn’t go back to entities that applied before the law went into effect to obtain the relevant documents. 

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