Are there sanctuary cities/counties in Georgia?

<div>Athens, Georgia, Athens City Hall, restored historic building.  (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)</div>
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<p>Athens, Georgia, Athens City Hall, restored historic building.  (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)</p>
<p><span><strong>CLARKE COUNTY, Ga.</strong> – </span>Following the tragic murder of 22-year-old nursing student Laken Hope Riley on the University of Georgia campus in Athens on February 22, attention and discussion surrounding sanctuary cities and counties has been renewed.  Many people have criticized Athens as a “city of refuge” on social media.</p>
<p>RELATED: <strong>Gov. Kemp wants answers about murder suspect's immigration status</strong></p>
<p>A sanctuary city, county, or state is characterized by laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions, policies, or other practices that impede immigration enforcement and provide criminals with protection from ICE.  This can be achieved through various means, such as denying or prohibiting authorities from complying with ICE detainees, imposing unreasonable conditions for the admission of detainees, denying ICE access to interview detained aliens, or obstruction communication and information sharing between local personnel and federal immigration officials.</p>
<p>Laken Riley, a nursing student, was brutally murdered on the University of Georgia campus.  The detained suspect is a 26-year-old illegal citizen from Venezuela, Jose Antionio Ibarra.  Athens-Clark County is a sanctuary city.  Every crime committed by an illegal alien is preventable…</p>
<p>— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) February 24, 2024</p>
<p>After the attacks of September 11, 2001, many states, including Georgia, passed strict anti-immigration laws.  Georgia's first major anti-immigration law, requiring people seeking employment or public benefits to prove their legal status, was enacted in 2006.  Notably, Georgia officially banned sanctuary cities in the state in 2009.</p>
<p>Laken Riley’s blood is on the hands of Joe Biden, Alejandro Mayorkas and the Athens-Clarke County government.</p>
<p>The Venezuelan suspect in the Laken Riley murder is one of millions of illegal aliens the Biden administration has released for admission into this country…</p>
<p>— Rep. Mike Collins (@RepMikeCollins) February 24, 2024</p>
<p>In 2011, a state law was enacted that allows local police to require proof of citizenship from almost anyone suspected of being undocumented.  In the years that followed, Georgia introduced laws that limited access to driver's licenses, post-secondary education, employment, and more.</p>
<p>Despite the statewide ban, Georgia has so-called sanctuary cities and counties, including Atlanta, Clarkston, Decatur and Athens-Clarke County, according to the USCIS guide.  Although specific policies vary from city to city, the importance of protecting immigrants from deportation and enforcing federal immigration laws is widely recognized.</p>
<p>Additionally, as of February 2021, Cobb and Gwinnett counties no longer participate in the 287(g) immigration program.  This decision effectively stripped police departments of the authority to enforce federal immigration policy.</p>
<p>In 2017, the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution declaring that the city was not responsible for “immigration matters,” and in 2018, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ended the city's relationship with ICE.</p>
<p>At the same time, Clarke County Sheriff Ira Edwards said in 2018 that the sheriff's office would no longer honor detainees used by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).</p>
<p>Yet, despite these local decisions, Georgia still hosts the third largest immigrant population in detention in the country.  The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) emphasizes that many communities continue to support the 287(g) program, which allows state and local legal administrators to enforce immigration laws on behalf of ICE.</p>
<p>It is important to note that sanctuary cities only provide protection to individuals who have been accused or convicted of nonviolent crimes, such as immigration and drug offenses.  Individuals convicted of acts of violence or serious crimes, such as murder or rape, are not eligible for protection under Sanctuary City policies.  Additionally, sanctuary cities do not provide protection from federal immigration authorities.</p>
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