The Georgia House of Representatives approves a bill that would require prison guards to cooperate with ICE following the killing of an Athens student.  • Georgia Recorder

A bill that gained momentum after last week's killing of Augusta University nursing student Laken Riley to punish law enforcement who refuse to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement passed the Georgia House on Crossover Day enforced.

House Bill 1105 Requires local law enforcement to work with federal officials to apprehend detainees suspected of being in the country illegally. Under the proposal, if an illegal immigrant is in the county jail and is in the United States illegally, the jailer would be required to report the arrest to ICE.

Republican Rep. Jesse Petrea of ​​Savannah has been pushing for such legislation for a year. He filed the bill in January, but the recent killing of Riley and authorities' arrest of Jose Antonio Ibarra, who allegedly entered the country illegally, killed the bill and larger conversations about immigration new Momentum.

Petrea said the bill would focus narrowly on people who are in the U.S. without authorization and involved in the criminal justice system. The bill also proposes denying funding to local law enforcement agencies if the agency does not follow procedure. If an officer refuses to enforce these policies, he or she may be charged with a misdemeanor for a first offense and a felony and aggravated misdemeanor for a second offense.

Republican lawmakers in Georgia allege that law enforcement agencies not working with ICE policies allowed Ibarra to slip through the cracks. Athens Republican Rep. Houston Gaines said this bill would ban this so-called “sanctuary city” policy, which he said is similar to the one in Athens. Athens, where the killing took place, opted not to detain people charged with crimes deemed trespassing for another 48 hours unless ordered by a judge, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Democrats disagree.

“We are fed up with attempts to promote racial profiling and discrimination,” said Democratic Rep. Pedro Marin of Duluth.

Several House Democrats, most of them people of color, stressed that the bill would increase racial profiling in their communities.

“There are so many people both in this body and outside of this body who would be suspected of being aliens and would be wrongfully detained until proven to be citizens,” said Democratic Rep. Ruwa Romman of Duluth.

The GALEO Impact Fund, an organization focused on representing Hispanic and Latino Americans in public office, condemned the bill in a news release Wednesday for shifting “blame from the perpetrator himself to the entire immigrant community.” The Latino issues advocacy group echoed some similar criticisms of policies that unfairly targeted the Hispanic community.

Democrats also had a problem with the logistics of the bill. Democratic Rep. Stacey Evans of Atlanta said it would overburden law enforcement agencies with figuring out what crimes are being processed. Authorities would also be required to post a quarterly report on a public website detailing the number of immigration detainers issued by ICE to jail inmates or other information. Evans said her time would be split between prosecuting crimes on the streets and detaining migrants.

“If local law enforcement wants to focus on crime as a whole and not on further detaining migrants, I have no problem with that. And I don’t think anyone here should do that,” Evans said.

Democratic Rep. Esther Panitch of Sandy Springs said a lack of funding would hamper law enforcement efforts to detain illegal immigrants.

The bill was voted on almost across party lines. In a press release, it received approval from the House Speaker's office and now heads to the Senate.

“As we continue to pray for Laken Riley and her family, today the Georgia House of Representatives took action to strengthen public safety in our state, take a strong stand against illegal immigration and support the rule of law – and I am proud to pass it House Bill 1105,” House Speaker Jon Burns, a Republican from Newington, said in the statement.