The Georgia House of Representatives passes a bill allowing police to arrest anyone suspected of being in the country illegally

Lauren Irwin and The Hill

2 weeks ago

The Georgia House of Representatives has passed a law that would require the arrest of people suspected of being in the United States illegally.

The House of Representatives voted 97-74 to pass House Bill 1105, which would allow police to arrest with probable cause anyone suspected of being in the U.S. illegally and hold them for deportation.

The bill comes after the murder of 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley in Athens, Georgia. The suspect in her death is Jose Ibarra, a Venezuelan citizen who authorities say entered the United States illegally in 2022.

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Ibarra was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) but released pending further processing. He was later arrested in New York and charged with injuring a child. However, he was released before ICE could ask local authorities to detain him, The Associated Press reported.

Riley's death has sparked popular outrage, and some Republicans have used her death as an opportunity to denounce President Joe Biden and Democrats on immigration. Democrats argue that her death should have no impact on overall immigration policy.

The law passed Thursday would require prison guards and sheriffs to report to federal authorities if someone in their custody is found not to have legal documents. Local governments could lose state or federal funds if they fail to report, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which first reported the law's passage.

State Representative Jesse Petrea sponsored the legislation. He said he had been working on the effort for at least a year, but the bill took on new meaning after Riley's death, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

Rep. Pedro Marin, Georgia's longest-serving Latino lawmaker, said crimes committed by individuals should not be used to generalize entire communities. He said the bill was an attempt to encourage racial profiling, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.