90.1FM WABE
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).

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Four advocate groups mined law enforcement records and found an increase of more than 17,169% in ICE detainments in Georgia between 2007 and 2013.

They allege law enforcement in Georgia is using a 2011 law to increase arrests and referrals to ICE. The law allows police to check anyone’s immigration status they detain on local charges.

They also say profiling is common in Georgia…targeting those with dark and medium skin color. Azadeh Shahshahani, with the ACLU of Georgia, says, “The targeting of communities of color has resulted in wider spread fear and concern throughout the state of Georgia.”

ICE officials declined an interview with WABE but did provide a statement.

It said, in part, of the 129,361 undocumented people removed from the United States in the nine months ending last May, 122,068 were from Mexico or Central America.

 

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