News

Immigrant Advocates Strongly Oppose Anti-Sanctuary Bill in General Assembly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

*PRESS STATEMENT*

 

March 10, 2020

 

Press Contacts: Jeff Migliozzi, (334) 303-1261, jeff.migliozzi@splcenter.org; Swathi Shanmugasundaram, (404) 759-0488, sshan@advancingjustice-atlanta.org; Priyanka Bhatt, 908-839-6135, Priyanka@projectsouth.org; Sebastian Saavedra, 678-794-2535, Sebastian@glahr.org; Preye Cobham, Esq. 404-668-2241, womenwatchafrika@gmail.com

 

Immigrant Advocates Strongly Oppose Anti-Sanctuary Bill in General Assembly

ATLANTA – Immigrant community organizations strongly oppose HB 1083, which will harm immigrant families and attack on public safety. The bill expands the definition of “sanctuary policies” and strips  local municipalities and local law enforcement from their discretion to adopt individualized policies regarding immigration enforcement. In addition, this bill permits individuals to sue local law enforcement entities or agencies who violate this statute. Therefore, local taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill when their governments uphold the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, by refusing to detain immigrants without appropriate judicial oversight, and expose themselves to civil lawsuits as proposed by HB 1083.

 

“Not only is this bill unconstitutional, it is an attack on public safety and the immigrant community at large. It would make communities less safe and force them to live in fear, questioning their safety with local law enforcement,” said Preye Cobham, Esq., Attorney and Legal Advisor for Women Watch Afrika.

 

Beyond the clear liability and sovereign immunity issues for localities, this bill will harm communities. Law enforcement would be stripped of its discretion, causing confusion and fear from survivors of crimes who will now have to choose between reporting a crime and possibly separating families. “Community members are concerned that this bill will intensify racial profiling and disrupt trust between immigrant communities and local police. This type of fear-mongering exposes immigrants to more risks and vulnerability when they are stopped for minor offenses,” said Lovette Kargbo Thompson, Atlanta Lead Organizer, for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.

 

The Georgia General Assembly has previously prohibited municipalities from enacting sanctuary policies, and even extended this prohibition to institutions of higher education in 2017. The state of Georgia has zero sanctuary cities within its borders. The cities with policies prohibited by this bill simply require that federal authorities provide judicial warrants to enforce immigration detainers covering their bases and upholding the Fourth Amendment rights of Georgians. These cities’ policies do not impede communication or cooperation with federal authorities, but rather provide the appropriate safeguard to communities. This is why there is no city in violation of current anti-sanctuary state laws. Therefore, HB 1083 is an unfunded mandate, and unnecessarily punitive towards municipalities and local law enforcement agencies that choose to create their own policies to protect themselves and their communities.

 

HB 1083 was quickly pushed through committee and passed by a narrow margin. It is up for discussion in the Rules Committee, which could lead to a vote in the House as early as Crossover Day on Thursday, March 12th. Immigrant rights advocates are actively engaging members of the House to oppose this hateful bill. Our coalition urges the Speaker of the House not to call it for a House vote. We urge concerned Georgians to call and speak out against this hateful bill by calling Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, (404) 656-5020, the Chairman of Rules Committee Rep. Richard Smith, (404) 656-514, and Vice Chairman of Rules Committee Rep. Matt Hatchett, (404) 656-5025.

 

“We are here in solidarity with all immigrants who are threatened by this proposed state policy that will unconstitutionally detain individuals, separate families, and increase suffering within already horrid immigration detention centers in Georgia. Do not let the words fool you, HB 1083 is not about increasing public safety, it is about perpetuating a false narrative vilifying immigrant. We will continue to work within our communities to protect and defend our rights,” said Priyanka Bhatt, Staff Attorney at Project South.

 

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta is the first and only legal advocacy nonprofit dedicated to the civil rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in Georgia and the Southeast. Our mission is to protect and promote the civil and human rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in Georgia and the Southeast through policy advocacy, legal services, organizing & civic engagement, and impact litigation.
Visit https://advancingjustice-atlanta.org/ Follow @aaaj_atlanta

Project South is a Southern-based leadership development organization that creates spaces for movement building. We have been working with communities pushed forward by the struggle for over 30 years – to strengthen leadership and to provide popular political and economic education for personal and social transformation.

Visit https://projectsouth.org  Follow @ProjectSouth

 

Women Watch Afrika is a grassroots, nonprofit, international, national, and local social justice organization focused on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls, the promotion of social and economic development and health equity of women, and the acculturation of immigrants and refugees arriving to the United States from 23 African nations. In line with its goal, Women Watch Afrika provides Social Services, Legal Services, Advocacy, Health Education, Legal Education, End Domestic Violence classes, Stop FGM/C workshops, Know Your Rights workshops, Citizenship Preparation, Civic Engagement; and Advocates against unjust, discriminatory laws that affect the community.

Visit https://womenwatchafrika.org/  Twitter: @WomenWatchAfri  Facebook: @WomenWatchAfrika

GALEO‘s mission is to increase civic engagement and leadership of the Latino/Hispanic community across Georgia. GALEO strives for a better Georgia where the Latino community is engaged civically and its contributions and concerns are recognized.

Visit https://galeo.org/      Follow @GALEOorg

 

The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) is a racial justice and migrants’ rights organization that organizes, advocates and raises awareness around issues facing Black immigrants, African Americans and their families. We believe that a thriving multiracial democracy requires racial, social and economic justice for all.

Visit www.BAJI.org  Twitter: @BAJItweet  Facebook: @BlackAllianceforJustImmigration

 

Latino Community Fund (LCF Georgia) supports Latinx-Led organizations and families with advocacy, capacity building and community investments.

Visit www.LCFGeorgia.org    Follow @LCFGeorgia

 

The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) educates, organizes, and empowers Latinos in Georgia to defend and advance their civil and human rights. Established in 2001, GLAHR is a community-based organization that develops statewide grassroots leadership.

Visit http://glahr.org       Follow @GLAHR_

 

The Asian American Advocacy Fund is a social welfare organization dedicated to building a politically-conscious, engaged, and progressive Asian American base in Georgia. Through a combination of political advocacy at local, state, and federal levels, and by supporting candidates that believe in our values, we fight to create a better Georgia for us all. Visit https://asianamericanadvocacyfund.org/  Follow @AsianAAF


CAIR Georgia
 is the Georgia Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR is our nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. CAIR’s mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslim and in extension all Americans.
Visit: https://www.cairgeorgia.com/ Facebook: @CAIRGA Follow on Twitter:  @CAIR_GA

The SPLC Action Fund, is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using lobbying, grassroots organizing, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC Action Fund works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality. Visit  www.splcenter.org Follow @splcenter

 

Georgia Shift is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that gives marginalized young people a seat at the table of democracy through electoral action, hands-on education, and civic media programs. On campuses and communities across the state, we organize young people to build independent political power.

Visit https://georgiashift.com/      Follow @GeorgiaShift

 

Feminist Women’s Health Center has been providing safe and compassionate abortion and sexual health services since 1976, but Feminist Center is more than a clinic. We are a movement. Through community education, grassroots organizing, public affairs and advocacy programs we work to advance reproductive health, rights, and justice.

Visit https://www.feministcenter.org/       Folllow @FWHC