Georgia lawmakers pass new immigration enforcement law after Laken Riley's killing


Georgia's GOP-controlled Legislature has advanced an immigration enforcement bill as Republican lawmakers across the country continue to call for tougher guidelines following the killing of nursing student Laken Riley last month.

The state House of Representatives gave final approval to HB 1105 by a vote of 99-75 on Thursday evening, the final day of Georgia's legislative session, after the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 34-19 last week. The bill now lands on the desk of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who has previously expressed support for tougher immigration policies. Kemp's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.

The law's passage comes at a time when the national debate over immigration is becoming increasingly contentious. After Jose Antonio Ibarra, an undocumented immigrant from Venezuela, was charged with the murder of Riley, who was found dead on the University of Georgia campus, national Republicans have used the incident to call on the Biden administration to crack down on illegal southern border crossings Border.

HB 1105 requires local and state law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of people over the age of 18 who have been arrested, detained or who an “official has reasonable suspicion” has committed a crime.

Under the measure, local law enforcement agencies that do not cooperate with immigration authorities could lose state funding and local officials who do not cooperate with immigration authorities could be charged with misdemeanors.

Republicans have argued that stricter border and immigration regulations would protect Americans and often draw connections between crime and undocumented immigrants — even though research has found no link.

“While Joe Biden and his liberal allies refuse to protect our citizens and secure the southern border, Georgia Senate Republicans are passing legislation to protect our state from criminal illegal immigrants,” Georgia Senate Republicans said in a statement Posted on X after last week's Senate vote.

Meanwhile, state Democrats have raised concerns that the bill is discriminatory and could harm immigrant communities.

“This bill will result in racial profiling of our immigrant communities and will not make Georgians safer,” Democratic Sen. Nabilah Islam Parkes said in a post on X, adding that the measure is “xenophobic.”

This measure builds on previous efforts by the Republican-controlled Legislature to combat immigration. Last week, senators passed HB301, which would strip certain state and federal funding from sanctuary cities and counties across the state.

Other states have also moved to introduce strict immigration policies. A controversial Texas law would allow state and regional police to arrest people they suspect of illegally crossing the southern border. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court said the law would remain blocked while its supporters face multiple legal challenges.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Laken Riley Act earlier this month, requiring the detention of all migrants found to have committed burglary or theft.