Thousands have protested Georgia's immigration law. Alabama's law is considered even tougher. (File Photo)
ATLANTA -- The Georgia House has passed a new version of an immigration bill that toughens one passed by the Senate just 12 hours earlier.
Rep. Matt Ramsey, the bill's sponsor, presented a new version of the bill on the floor of the House on Tuesday that puts back in a key provision that would require many private employers to check the immigration status of new hires using a federal database called E-Verify.
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Even though illegal immigration was a big campaign issue for Gov. Nathan Deal, on Wednesday the governor said he would not pick sides in the E-Verify debate, but leave it up to Republicans in the House and Senate to decide the program's fate.
"It is a difficult piece of legislation, and we're going to just simply see what they do in these last few hours before the session adjourns," Deal said.
The bill now goes back to the Senate which will decide whether or not to accept the new version.
If the Senate rejects the changes, Ramsey said the bill will likely head to a joint committee, which would hammer out a compromise bill.