The Georgia House of Representatives passes a bill to lower standards for detaining illegal immigrants

The Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would allow immigrants to be arrested if they are suspected of being in the state illegally.

Additionally, HB 1105 would allow local authorities to detain immigrants for deportation if they determine they are not lawfully present. According to the law, if an officer, jailer or sheriff fails to report when an inmate does not have proper legal documentation, he or she could be “subject to withholding of state or state-administered federal funds.” The law was drafted by six Republicans and passed between 1997 and 1974. Only one Democratic member voted for the measure.

The law's passage comes a week after the murder of University of Georgia student Laken Riley, whose body was discovered on campus on February 22. José Ibarra was an illegal immigrant living near campus who was arrested in connection with her death. He is charged with premeditated murder, aggravated murder, aggravated assault, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, obstructing an emergency call and concealing the death of another. Notably, he was arrested in the United States before the alleged crime and the authorities knew he was an illegal immigrant but preferred to let him back into the country rather than deport him.

State Rep. Jesse Petrea, the Republican who sponsored the bill, said it had been in the works for a year but had gained more support after the killing.


Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) did not respond to The Washington Examiner's request for comment on the bill. He has clearly expressed the need for change in light of the murder.

Athens, Georgia, where Riley was killed, has been a sanctuary city since 2019, when the government passed a resolution welcoming all immigrants, regardless of whether they were legal. However, even Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz expressed doubts about the meaning of the term in light of Riley's murder.