New Georgia law requires sheriff's cooperation with immigration after UGA student's death

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ga. (WGXA) – A controversial House bill has been signed into law. Now signed into law, House Bill 1105 would require sheriffs to coordinate with federal authorities when dealing with suspected illegal immigrants.

This action follows the tragic death of a UGA nursing student in February, allegedly caused at the hands of a person who was in the country illegally.

While this new law may impact local law enforcement, some, like Washington County Sheriff Joel Cochran, believe it will not significantly change their jobs.

Sheriff Cochran expressed his view: “I don't see it being much different than what we've done before.” He assured that his agency will follow the law, which means it will assist in enforcing immigration laws by checking the immigration status of detainees.

Otherwise, sheriffs and prison guards face penalties. Cochran stressed that his department has always cooperated with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and will continue to do so.

However, Cochran remains concerned about the timeliness of federal authorities processing arrest warrants against illegal immigrants. He hopes that they will arrest the detainees promptly to prevent the detention centers from becoming overwhelmed.

Despite potential challenges, Cochran sees the bill as an opportunity to improve law enforcement. He believes that while it could introduce more policies, its fundamental goal is public safety.

On the other side, the director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute opposes the bill, citing concerns about unfunded mandates and diversion of local resources. They argue that HB 1105 imposes financial burdens on local governments without adequately supporting them.

Now the House bill must be signed by the governor before it can fully take effect.