The Georgia Anti-Sanctuary Act

Legislation to prevent enforcement of “sanctuary city” policies has been filed in the House of Representatives of the Georgia General Assembly. The bill has been given the short title Georgia Anti-Sanctuary Act.

Sponsored by Representative Philip Singleton, R-Sharpsburg, House Bill 915 would compel local law enforcement agencies to hand detained illegal aliens over to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE).

Local agencies would also have to notify ICE when a detained alien is about to be released from custody on bail.

The Augusta Chronicle reports that local Latino advocates have called the bill a threat to Georgia’s huge “immigrant” workforce that powers the state’s poultry, carpet and hospitality industries.

A focus on criminal aliens

As does every advocate for dissolving border security and for letting criminals out of jail, Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, claims the measure would impair public safety; in this case it's presumably because the Act would cause illegal aliens who witnessed a crime to fear contacting the police.

Characteristically, he is ignoring the fact that this legislation zeroes in on cases where an illegal alien has been arrested on criminal charges and ICE wants to deport him. In other words, to claim that he is speaking in the name of public safety is a gross distortion of the truth.

Philip Singleton explained to Fox & Friends the urgency of the need to deport aliens who wind up entangled in Georgia's criminal justice system, stating Our own statistics say that over 1,500 people that went into the system in November were repeat-offender criminal aliens. About 14 percent of those were sexual assault, about 10 percent for murder and about 8 percent for rape.

A Georgia law enacted in 2016 allows state officials to withhold funding to cities and counties that limit information sharing between local police agencies and ICE; Singleton now wants to broaden the scope of the ban on sanctuary policies.

Georgia cities and agencies that have adopted measures to limit cooperation with ICE include Atlanta, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, the city of Clarkston and the city of Decatur.

The Republican Party enjoys a commanding 105-74 majority in the Georgia House of Representatives, so it would seem the bill has good chances for being passed.

Key features of House Bill 915

The Georgia Anti-Sanctuary Act would legislate the following important changes:

  • A state entity, local governmental entity, or law enforcement agency shall not adopt or have in effect a sanctuary policy.
  • Any sanctuary policy in Georgia that is in effect on or after July 1, 2020 shall be repealed on or before September 1, 2020.
  • A law enforcement agency shall use best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law.
  • Except as otherwise expressly prohibited by federal law, a state or local governmental entity may not in any way restrict a law enforcement agency from sharing information regarding a person's immigration status with the relevant authorities.
  • A law enforcement agency that has custody of a person subject to an ICE immigration detainer shall provide notice of that fact to the judge authorized to grant or deny the person's release on bail or bond, and shall comply with the requests made in the immigration detainer.
  • A law enforcement agency that has custody of a person subject to an ICE immigration detainer shall not require a judicial warrant prior to complying with the requests made in the immigration detainer.
  • It shall be illegal for a person who has primary authority for administering a correctional facility who has custody of a person subject to an ICE immigration detainer to knowingly fail to comply with the requests made in the detainer.
  • Each correctional facility and the Department of Corrections shall enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for temporarily housing persons who are the subject of ICE detainers and for the payment of the costs of housing and detaining those persons.
  • Any person, including a federal agency, may file a complaint with the state Attorney General alleging that a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency has violated Georgia law as amended by this legislation.
  • If a court finds a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency has violated this Act, the court shall immediately enjoin the violation. The court may enforce its orders with the initiation of contempt proceedings as provided by law.
  • In addition to any other penalty, a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency that is found by a court to have intentionally violated a provision of this Act shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount of not more than $1,500 for the first violation and not more than $25,500 for each subsequent violation.
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