Georgia Governor Says He'll Sign Immigration Bill

By Shannon McCaffrey | April 15, 2011 | 1:01 PM EDT

Atlanta (AP) - Gov. Nathan Deal says he'll sign a tough immigration measure passed by the Georgia Legislature that includes elements similar to a contentious law enacted in Arizona last year.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Deal said the legislation "sends a signal that the citizens of our state believe the rule of law in important."

The bill passed late Thursday, hours before the end of Georgia's 2011 legislative session.

Deal said he did not think Georgia measure would lead to boycotts or harm businesses. He says he hopes it will "send a message to members of Congress that it's time for them to get serious about the issue."

Among other provisions, it authorizes law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of certain criminal suspects and allows them to detain those found to be in the country illegally.