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HomeGeneralGeorgia Governor Set To Sign Bill Requiring Law Enforcement To Heed Immigration...

Georgia Governor Set To Sign Bill Requiring Law Enforcement To Heed Immigration Request

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Governor of Georgia; Brian Kemp
source: Brian Kemp

Georgia’s legislature has given its stamp of approval to a new bill that mandates local jail officials to verify the immigration status of detainees rather than keeping those unlawfully present in the country.

The bill, known as House Bill 1105, got its support primarily from Republican lawmakers. It is now awaiting the governor’s signature after securing final passage in the state House with a 99-75 vote. The bill had previously received the nod from the state Senate.

The proposed legislation stipulates that local law enforcement agencies would jeopardize state funding if they fail to join forces with federal immigration authorities. Furthermore, local officials could potentially face misdemeanor charges for non-compliance.

The push for the bill gained momentum following a tragic incident involving a Venezuelan national who has been accused of murdering a 22-year-old nursing student, Laken Riley, on the University of Georgia campus. Jose Ibarra, 26, was apprehended last month on charges of murder and assault in connection with Riley’s death.

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ALSO READ: Texas AG Sues Catholic Immigration Nonprofit, Accuses It of Human Smuggling

According to immigration officials, Ibarra unlawfully entered the United States in 2022. Whether he has sought asylum remains unclear.

Despite the bill’s passage, Democratic legislators have voiced apprehensions that it could effectively transform local law enforcement into immigration agents, discouraging communities from reporting crimes or cooperating with authorities. They have also cited research indicating that immigrants are statistically less inclined to engage in criminal activities compared to native-born Americans.

In defense of the bill, House Republican Jesse Petrea asserted during Thursday’s session that the legislation simply requires law enforcement to collaborate with immigration authorities in cases where individuals have committed crimes and are residing in the country without legal status.

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“I don’t believe anyone in law enforcement believes that’s too much to ask,” he said.

POLL—Should the U.S. Government Create a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?

The bill would do more than allow officers to arrest those suspected of illegally entering the country. It would also require jailers to honor U.S. and Customs Enforcement detainer requests.

Detainer documents ask local jails to hold inmates for 48 hours to give ICE agents time to show up at the prison and take custody of them. That removes the need for agents to search for them after they post bail.

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“If I send my officers to arrest somebody in a jail, it’s a secure
environment,” said Sean Ervin. “There’s no danger to the community.”
Ervin is the Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations in Atlanta. He is in charge of deporting those who violate immigration policies set by each presidential administration. He said that some counties in Georgia do not honor ICE detainer requests.

Immigration attorney Joshua McCall said the problem is that it can be considered unconstitutional to hold anyone in jail after they’ve posted bond.

ALSO READ: Another Red State Set To Enact Texas-Style Anti-Illegal Immigration Law

“This bill criminalizes and fines local jails and local police departments for not performing the duties of ICE,” argued McCall. “This bill forces local police departments to do more reporting and statistical studies than is currently being done by ICE.”

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