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."
In addition to the racial implications of the newly released statistics, the study identifies that at least 54% of those taken into ICE custody were long-time Georgia residents who had called this country home since at least 2003 resulting in the separation of families where 48,135 US citizen children in Georgia had a parent taken by ICE and 17,497 Georgia residents had a spouse taken by ICE in the four years between 2007 and June of 2013.
Finally the exaggerated emphasis on immigration status in local law enforcement resoundingly counters the public safety pretext of police-ICE collaboration noting that Immigration officials do not even record a "Detainer Criminal Offense Level" in nearly half of records available and in those where it is recording, 40% are identified as "level three," having been convicted of traffic or other minor offenses.
Azadeh Shahshahani of the ACLU of Georgia explains, "The numbers revealed today are both damning of what has happened to law enforcement in Georgia and heartbreaking for what it has done to Georgia communities. One can feel the chilling effect this has had with confidence in police and the risk to all of our safety when so many Georgia residents have been harmed and live in fear of the deportation apparatus that the police have lent themselves to. Contained in the report is the human cost, erosion of rights, and the rise of a culture of suspicion in our state that must be addressed."
"No one should be afraid to call 9-1-1," explains Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. "But that is exactly what has happened since police became involved in filling federal deportation quotas. We all want to live in safe communities but the well known threat of your neighbor being torn from his or her family makes that an impossibility. Sheriffs who want to focus on policing and not on persecuting Georgians for the color of their skin should join the 165 plus jurisdictions around the country that are cutting their ties with ICE in order to rebuild them with the community."
"The data shows that the exponential growth of hyper-immigration enforcement has torn apart thousands of Georgia families," said Alina Das, Assistant Professor of Clinical Law and Co-Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at New York University Law School. "Georgia officials have an opportunity and an obligation to protect families by ending state and local involvement in programs that funnel parents and longtime residents into the broken immigration system."
The Report "Prejudice, Policing, and Public Safety: The Impact of Immigration Hyper-Enforcement in Georgia" was produced by the ACLU of Georgia, GLAHR, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the NYU School of Law and is available online here.
The Georgia #Not1More Campaign is urging the Dekalb and Fulton County Sheriffs to follow the example of more than 165 other jurisdictions who have limited or eliminated submission to the unjust and burdensome ICE hold requests in the wake of recent court rulings finding their violation of 4th amendment rights.