Georgia lawmakers introduce bills against immigration laws and sanctuary cities

ATLANTA, Georgia (WGXA) — Lawmakers are working to turn their attention to immigration laws in the state of Georgia.

This came after the death of University of Georgia student Laken Riley, who police said was murdered by an illegal immigrant.

Her father had some words to encourage the senators,

My vision for every Senator in this chamber is that you protect against illegal invasion

The Senate has passed Bill 301, which would enforce a 2009 law that prohibits counties and cities from establishing sanctuaries, punishing them by withdrawing federal assistance.

According to Senator Randy Robertson, cities accused of being sanctuary cities risk losing their federal funding.

“If you want to go out there and be a sanctuary city that violates Georgia law, you will be held accountable for that,” Robertson said.

The bill also allows for the removal of local elected officials and gives citizens the right to sue the county or city.

Although many lawmakers oppose it, Senator Josh McLaurin says there is already a law banning sanctuary cities, so this bill serves other purposes.

“This bill is exactly what I would call a lawsuit bill, it is a private right of action bill,” McLaurin said.

The bill was passed with 33 votes in favor and 18 against.

Bill 1105 also passed with 34 votes in favor and 19 against. It would require local law enforcement agencies to notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security if they suspect they have an illegal immigrant in custody.

Senator Jon Albers said he did not want people to get the impression that authorities were after immigrants when in reality they were only pursuing criminals.

“It is important that we do everything possible to comply with the law at all levels and protect Georgians. This is without a doubt a matter of public safety and particularly affects criminals,” Albers said.

Both bills will now head back to the House before final passage. This is the final week of this year's legislative session, and Thursday is the last day a bill can become law. We'll be here to keep you updated.