Advocates Say Georgia Law Enforcement is Profiling, Increasing Immigrant Arrests

August 01, 2014

Lisa George

A group of advocates for immigrants to Georgia says there has been a dramatic rise in the number of arrests and detainments of immigrants in the last few years.

Alicia Cruz says she was pulled over in Conyers about four months ago.

(Cruz speaks in Spanish followed by voice of translator): “My kids were with me, and the police officers kneeled my children down and pointed them, gun-pointed them.”

Cruz speaks very little English and says the officer spoke no Spanish. She says the officer took her to jail for driving without a license. She is currently out on bond, but she is undocumented and fears she will be detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

New Report Details Prejudice and Pretext in Georgia's Hyper Immigration Enforcement

July 31, 2014

Federal ICE Access Programs and GA HB87 Driving Unprecedented Targeting and Deportation in the State

Today advocacy organizations publish a new report based on data made available through FOIA litigation with the state and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement that both outline the metastasizing growth of local police's involvement in immigration enforcement and the resulting patterns of prejudice and collateral deportation in local practice with little to no evidence of any relation to actual public safety efforts.

The data reveals that the federal agency's practice of requesting the extended incarceration of an individual because of the suspicion of the immigration status known as ICE detainers rose 17,169% from 2007 to 2013 with 96% of those targeted being of "dark or medium complexion."

Previously Unreleased Data Shows Prejudice Not Public Safety in Georgia's Hyper Enforcement of Immigration Law

July 29, 2014

FOIA Suit Results in Telling Picture of Local Law Enforcement's Involvement in Federal Policies

What: Press Conference Releasing New Study "Prejudice, Policing, and Public Safety"
Where:180 Spring Street SW
When: 11:00am, Thursday July 31st, 2014
Who: Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, ACLU of Georgia, and Georgia #Not1More Campaign

On Thursday morning, advocates will release a new study analyzing data received as a result of a FOIA lawsuit with ICE that outlines for the first time the practice and impact of local immigration enforcement efforts that grew under federal programs and the state law passed in 2011.

Families victimized by unjust deportation policy will speak out as part of the Georgia #Not1More campaign seeking to move Dekalb and Fulton Counties to join more than 130 jurisdictions nationwide in rejecting the ICE hold requests to keep people in extended detention due to its negative impact on public safety and constitutional violations.

The report will be made available at the press conference.

Portraits of Atlanta Immigrants

July 09, 2014

Creative Loafing interviews ACLU of Georgia's Azadeh Shahshahani about her immigrant experience

9 men and women share their voices, their stories

Thomas Wheatley, Creative Loafing

Forty-four years ago, your chances of hearing a foreign accent in Georgia were slim. At the time, less than 1 percent of the state's population had been born abroad. But in the decades since, Georgia, once shackled by segregation, has become one of the more diverse states in the union. In 2012, according to the Pew Research Center, nearly 10 percent of the state's population was born in another country.

Much of that growth has been centered in metro Atlanta. Last year, the Atlanta Regional Commission estimated that approximately 14 percent of the 20-county region's population was foreign-born. Among the 20 other most populous metros across the country, the metro Atlanta region ranked 14th. But when researchers measure its change in growth over the 2000s, the region lays claim to the second-fastest growing foreign-born population, lagging only Baltimore. In some counties, such as Clayton, foreign-born men, women, and children fueled the majority of the population growth during the booming 2000s.

Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor

May 28, 2014

May 24, 2014
New York Times

The kitchen of the detention center here was bustling as a dozen immigrants boiled beans and grilled hot dogs, preparing lunch for about 900 other detainees. Elsewhere, guards stood sentry and managers took head counts, but the detainees were doing most of the work — mopping bathroom stalls, folding linens, stocking commissary shelves.

As the federal government cracks down on immigrants in the country illegally and forbids businesses to hire them, it is relying on tens of thousands of those immigrants each year to provide essential labor — usually for $1 a day or less — at the detention centers where they are held when caught by the authorities.


May 28, 2014

A Cultural Celebration With Artists for Migrant Justice

On Friday May 30th, Grammy winning & nominated musicians, visual artists, performers, and community members will host the 5th UndocuNation. This traveling arts and music festival and workshop series uplifts migrant stories and speaks out against unjust immigration laws that separate families and discriminate against LGBTQ communities and people of color.

Rights and Benefits Eligibility Chart for Individuals with Various Immigration Status

September 26, 2013

The ACLU of Georgia has released a chart on eligibility of individuals with various immigration status for rights and benefits in Georgia. The chart is available in both English and Spanish and can be accessed here.

Is There a Pathway to Citizenship? Surveying the Current Status of Federal and State Immigration Reform

September 11, 2013

Presented by The Georgia Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
303 Peachtree Street , 53th Floor
Atlanta, GA

September 17 is Constitutiton Day. On this illustrious occasion, please join the ACS Georgia Lawyer Chapter for a panel discussion on the current state of the federal and state immigration reform, including an assessment of the prospects for a comprehensive bill in the United States Congress, a review of the various forces that are supporting and opposing that effort, and a discussion on the interplay between state and federal immigration reform efforts in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Arizona v. United States.


July 20, 2013

Coalition Announces Next Steps to Reduce Harm from What Remains of State’s Anti-Immigrant HB 87

Following the Federal District Court’s order today in Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, et al. v. Deal, et al., a coalition of civil rights groups announced the next steps in their effort to dismantle the state’s anti-immigrant law, HB 87. Significant parts of the law have been blocked by the courtsbut one provision remains that allows police officers to ask the federal government to verify the immigration status of individuals who are lawfully detained on state-law grounds. It does not allow for stops, arrests or even extending detention just for immigration verification. Today’s order holds that challenges to that provision’s implementation must be brought in other suits, rather than the original case that the coalition filed before HB 87’s effective date in 2011.

Georgia Public Broadcasting interviews ACLU of Georgia's Azadeh Shahshahani about release of some immigrants from detention in recent days

February 28, 2013

Some Georgia Detainees Released

By Ellen Reinhardt

Georgia Public Broadcasting

Immigration advocates say detainees have been released from the North Georgia detention center, the Irwin County detention center and the Stewart detention center in south Georgia.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement announced Monday that hundreds of non-violent detainees and those who don’t pose a flight risk would be granted supervised release across the country. ICE says that’s due to anticipated cuts from sequestration. A Georgia ICE official could only confirm releases from the Stewart facility.

Azadeh Shahshahani with the Georgia ACLU says we can no longer afford immigration prisons for people who are neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community.
“It is about 122 dollars to 164 dollars per detainee per day. Whereas if we relied on more alternatives to detention, that would cost from 30 cents to 14 dollars a day.” she says.
ICE officials confirm those figures, but say the deportation process increases from 45 days if someone is in a detention facility to as long as 2 years if the person is under supervision.
Shahshahani says even the government admits supervision rather than detention is a better way to go.
She says “The Department of Homeland Security has itself told Congress that alternatives to detention are a cost-effective alternative to secure detention of immigrants in removal proceedings. And the Department of Homeland Security’s own alternative to detention program has ensured that 94 percent of people appear for their immigration hearings.”
ICE officials say the supervision can range from requiring immigrants to wear ankle monitors to having them check in with ICE officials once a week.
11th district Georgia Congressman Phil Gingery released this statement regarding the detainee releases:
"Despite President Obama’s attempts to rewrite history, this is his sequester. And now, rather than governing, he is waging a nation-wide public relations campaign warning against his very idea. The bottom line is it’s the spending cuts—not necessarily the sequester itself—that must be implemented. House Republicans have already acted, voting twice to replace it with common-sense reforms that reduce spending while protecting the DoD from being disproportionately impacted. Identifying and eliminating wasteful or duplicative programs and services within DHS and other government agencies would cut spending without hollowing out our military. "
"For instance, according to a recent report, DHS paid for an underwater robot in a Midwest city with no major rivers or lakes nearby, a hog catcher in rural Texas and a fish tank in a small Texas town. The report also found the department has no way of tracking how grant money is spent and has not produced adequate measures to gauge what states and communities actually need. Rather than releasing detainees, government agencies must focus on cutting spending and enacting reforms in wasteful areas such as these."
9th District Congressman Doug Collins also criticized the Obama administration. He released this statement:
“Unfortunately, this type of dangerous behavior has become the status quo from President Obama. It’s disheartening to know the leader of the greatest country in the world would rather play futile political games to advance his tax and spend agenda than protect innocent Americans. These actions are a cowardly and careless; and moreover, they undermine the work the House Judiciary Committee is doing in regards to immigration reform. President Obama should be ashamed of himself for choosing political expediency over the safety of the American people.”