Georgia passes bill to strengthen anti-sanctuary laws after Laken Riley murder

FAIR take | April 2024

The Georgia Legislature last week took a significant step toward improving public safety by passing the Georgia Criminal Alien Track and Report Act of 2024 (HB 1105) and sending it to Gov. Brian Kemp's desk. If signed into law, HB 1105 will give new impetus to Georgia's anti-sanctuary law to ensure that criminal aliens operating in Georgia communities are not protected from immigration enforcement.

HB 1105 requires Georgia's local law enforcement agencies to cooperate in enforcing federal immigration laws by complying with the requests of detainees. The bill also imposes penalties on sheriff's offices and jailers who refuse to participate in ICE's 287(g) program. If a violation of HB 1105 is found, the township will lose state and federal funding.

The Senate chamber was filled with drama as debate on the bill came to a close. Laken Riley's parents entered the Senate chamber for the final vote and her father, Jason Riley, stepped to the podium to speak. Mr. Riley called on senators to take action. “God has given me a beautiful daughter to father, protect, care for and nurture. A man with an evil heart stole her life. He was in this country and state illegally. My vision for every senator in this chamber is that you protect citizens from this illegal invasion.”

Although viewed by most as a sensible measure, some Georgia lawmakers opposed the bill. Senator Nabilah Islam Parkes (D-Duluth) suggested that the bill would negatively impact all immigrants. She suggested the bill was aimed at punishing crime victims “whose only connection to the crime is being shared”.[ing] The [same] the perpetrator’s immigration status,” making him “collateral damage” to immigration enforcement efforts.

However, Senator John Albers (R), the bill's sponsor, commented on the tragic nature of Laken's death, saying, “This could have been prevented.” I hope that laws like this and other things that happen will prevent future tragedies .”

Tragically, Laken Riley became collateral damage of the Biden administration's open borders policies and Athens-Clarke County's sanctuary policies. And it took Laken's assassination to alert Georgia lawmakers to the dangerous impact that open borders and protective measures have on public safety. Equally troubling is the fact that Laken's death is not an isolated incident, but one of a few that has drawn national media attention. According to Rep. Jesse Petrea (R-166), a co-sponsor of HB 1105, nearly 200 convicted murderers in Georgia's prison system are classified as illegal immigrants. “Today it’s 182, so I want to say Laken Riley wasn’t the first. it is high profile. It's terrible. Remember: every single violent crime committed against someone by someone in the country illegally was and is a preventable crime.”

While HB 1105 cannot undo the tragic loss of Laken and the other victims of illegal alien crime, it represents a critical measure to condemn the actions of her killer and protect the community from future acts of violence. This bill is expected to be signed by Governor Kemp. Commenting on Laken's death, Governor Kemp said: “This is a failure of our system on multiple levels and at multiple points in time and has resulted in the death of a young woman. “This is inexcusable.”