Mon. May 20th, 2024

Georgia governor signs immigration bill months after UGA slaying, worrying Latino advocates

By 37ci3 May2,2024


Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he signed the new immigration law Wednesday in response to her killing. Laken Riley would improve public safety, but opponents said it would undermine trust between immigrant and Latino communities and law enforcement.

Georgia HB1105 would, among other things, require sheriff’s offices to coordinate with federal officials regarding individuals who are in the country illegally incarcerated or who may face financial loss if they do not.

Kemp, a Republican, said at the signing ceremony that the bill “has become one of our top priorities after Laken Riley was senselessly killed at the hands of someone wrongfully detained in this country even after crossing the border.” Associated Press informed.

“If you enter our country illegally and continue to commit further crimes in our communities, we will not let your crimes go unanswered,” Kemp said.

But advocates say they’ve already seen attempts to use local officials to enforce immigration law.

February death Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student, fueled an already heated political storm in an election year over immigration. Police have re-arrested Venezuelan national Jose Antonio Ibarra, who was previously arrested in New York in 2022 for illegally entering the country, on charges of injuring a child under the age of 17. Authorities said he was. He was released by New York officials before U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took him into custody.

Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO, an Atlanta-based Latino advocacy group, said law enforcement relies on community policing techniques to have “eyes and ears” in the community.

“If there is an erosion of trust between society and law enforcement agencies, [the community] They will no longer call when they are a victim of a crime or witness a crime,” he said.

The law sets specific requirements for how prison officials must check with ICE to determine whether inmates are in the country illegally. The law makes it a misdemeanor for prison officials to “knowingly and knowingly” fail to check immigration status.

The law also requires local jails to apply to participate in the action 287(g) contract with ICE assisting local jail officials in enforcing immigration law. The program allows local authorities to help identify people they arrest and face deportation. AP reports that the administration of President Joe Biden attached importance to the program.

When the program was available in Latino Cobb and Gwinnett counties, “I was getting more calls from the police about crimes,” Gonzalez said. Voters in those counties elected sheriffs Who in 2020 it’s over their 287(g) agreement.

Advocacy groups have said that while the bill deals with incarcerated suspects, they fear enforcement will spill over into local communities because in some counties, sheriff’s officers are jailers and the local police force.

“We absolutely know it will increase racial profiling,” said Dalia Perez, spokeswoman for the Georgia Latino Human Rights Alliance, which opposed the bill as it moved through the Legislature and organized three days of rallies against its signing.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized the abuse of the 287(g) program and violation of civil rights.

According to the ACLU report, the program allowed xenophobic sheriffs and their deputies to arrest people they suspected of being undocumented under false pretenses to deport them.

Gonzalez said GALEO also documented significant racial profiling when sheriff’s offices in Cobb and Gwinnett counties participated in the 287(g) program.

In an op-ed in X, immigration attorney Charles Cook said the law is an “abridgement” of previous Georgia law on 287(g) and “clarifies how long a noncitizen can be detained.”

Even so, Gonzalez said his group will educate community members about their rights if they are stopped by local law enforcement.

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By 37ci3

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