Marshall Cohen, chairman of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Georgia-Alabama chapter, and Founding Partner of Antonini & Cohen Immigration Law group, was recently interviewed for the Daily Report article, “Immigration Lawyer: Attorney General’s Rejection of Governor’s Syrian Plan Isn’t Surprising, but It’s Significant” by Meredith Hobbs.
Last November, Governor Nathan Deal issued an executive order directing state agencies to “halt any involvement in accepting Syrian refugees” into Georgia due to fears of potential terrorism. Governor Deal then asked Attorney General Sam Olens for an opinion on the order. Olens rejected the order, writing that “the states do not have any authority to unilaterally interfere in congressionally authorized federal immigration programs.”
Asked by the Daily Report for comment, immigration attorney Marshall Cohen said, “It’s not a state matter. The state can make refugees feel unwelcome, but legally it has no ground to deny them any benefits.” He added, “These people are coming to the United States after an almost two-year vetting process, and to lump them in with terrorists is ridiculous,”
“The concept of giving people who’ve been persecuted refuge in the United States is part of who we are,” Cohen said. “We don’t have to choose between admitting people who’ve been persecuted and security—we can do both.”
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January 4, 2016 Update – Governor Deal rescinded the executive order that attempted to prevent Syrian refugee settlement in Georgia.