For years, immigrant rights activists have fought to shut down a controversial immigration enforcement program operating in jails in Georgia and across the nation.
Started during the George W. Bush administration, the Secure Communities program works by comparing inmates’ fingerprints against immigration records in federal databases. Supporters say the program has substantially curbed illegal immigration. Critics say it ensnares low-level offenders with families and deep roots in the U.S.
Fulton County commissioners on Wednesday passed a resolution urging Sheriff Ted Jackson to stop cooperating with federal immigration authorities under a variety of conditions.
Fulton is the first Georgia county to pass such a resolution amid a nationwide debate over the issue, according to the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Georgia, which hailed the commissioners’ action. Scores of other jurisdictions have approved similar measures, including Cook County, Ill.; the District of Columbia; and New York City.
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).
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
303 Peachtree Street , 53th Floor
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.
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.