Immigration Bill Ignites Racial Profiling Concerns

GA Latino News


After the tragic death of a nursing student in Athens, Georgia lawmakers passed the contentious House Bill 1105. The public safety bill proposes granting police the authority to arrest individuals suspected of being in the country illegally, detaining them for deportation if there is probable cause.

The bill approved by the Georgia Senate now goes to the House for consideration. If the House passes the measure, it will head to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The legislation aims to address individuals like suspect Jose Antonio Ibarra, accused of the murder of Laken Riley. Federal immigration officials report that Ibarra, a Venezuelan citizen, entered the U.S. without authorization in 2022.

Proponents of the bill argue that it is necessary for combating crime, while opponents say that it unfairly singles out the immigrant community.

Adopting the bill would “expand immigration detention and keep more of our community members in jail,” said Adelina Nicholls, co-founder and executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), in a statement. “This bill is an example of [a] racist and anti-immigrant agenda.”

“While we continue to pray for Laken Riley and her family, the Georgia House took action … to strengthen public safety and security in our state, stand firmly against illegal immigration and for the rule of law — and I am proud of the passage of House Bill 1105,” said House Speaker Jon Burns, a Republican from Newington in a statement.

As outlined in the bill, individuals arrested and suspected of being undocumented by law enforcement would be mandated to be detained by jailers and reported to immigration and customs enforcement.

The approval of HB 1105 would bring Georgia in line with states recognized for their stringent immigration enforcement policies, such as Texas, which recently passed a law permitting police officers to apprehend migrants entering the state unlawfully.

Local governments could risk losing state or federally-administered funding if the bill is enacted and law enforcement does not adhere to its provisions. Additionally, sheriffs who fail to verify immigration status could be charged with a misdemeanor offense.

“This bill will increase racial profiling by a lot,” said Daniela Rodriguez, Executive Director of Migrant Equality Southeast. We already know that often people who look brown, who look Hispanic, are victims of racial profiling…not just by police but other entities of law enforcement.”

Cover Photo by Kindel Media

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