Here's what Georgia is doing to curb illegal immigration after Laken Riley's murder

Georgian lawmakers are expected to pass a bill to combat illegal immigration this week after a Venezuelan was illegally arrested in the United States over the killing of an Augusta University nursing student in Athens.

Georgia has had a law since 2006 targeting “sanctuary cities” — where law enforcement does not attempt to arrest and prosecute illegal immigrants.

House Bill 1105, approved late Tuesday by the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, is intended to ensure that local law enforcement enforces the 18-year-old law, said Rep. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah, the lead sponsor of the bill draft law.

“Unfortunately, some municipalities and counties were able to get around the funding limitations we have today,” he said.

Committee Chairman J Collins, R-Villa Rica, said many of House 1105's provisions have been submitted to the General Assembly since last year.

“We are always very careful not to simply unsettle reactionary legislation,” he said. “This committee has been looking at this issue for some time.”

But the crackdown on illegal immigration gained urgency after 26-year-old Jose Ibarra was arrested and charged with the murder last Friday of Laken Riley, whose body was found at a lake near the intramural fields on the University of Georgia campus became.

House Bill 1105 contains new language since last week's killing that strengthens existing law, including a provision that “requires,” not just “encourages,” local law enforcement officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Those agencies that fail to determine the nationality of suspects held in local jails and notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when they have an illegal immigrant in custody would be subject to forfeiture of state funds and state-authorized federal funds.

“That’s the job of every sheriff in this state today,” Petrea said. “Maybe half of our sheriffs follow this law.”

The committee approved the bill on Tuesday. It is expected to arrive in the House on Thursday, General Assembly crossover day, the deadline for legislation to keep either the House or Senate alive for the 2024 session.

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