Georgia city votes to limit cooperation with immigration officers

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Georgia city votes to limit cooperation with immigration officers

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Clarkston’s City Council on Tuesday voted to limit the city’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities amid the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

Clarkston Council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to limit their tiny DeKalb County city’s cooperation with federal deportation officers amid the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration. 

The new policy, which took effect immediately, says city authorities shall not arrest or detain anyone based on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests called “detainers” or “administrative immigration warrants.” 

The council’s decision follows the arrests of scores of unauthorized immigrants across Georgia this year, including many Somali nationals in Clarkston this month. Clarkston’s decision also come as President Donald Trump is seeking to strip federal funding from “sanctuary cities” that don’t fully cooperate with ICE. Last week, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked a key part of Trump’s executive order that would withhold the money. 

“It’s more of a symbolic measure,” Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry said in an interview after the vote. “Practically speaking, we are not going to hold anyone for longer than a couple of hours in a holding cell before they get transferred to the DeKalb jail. But people in the community were fearful, and there were lots of very moving stories.” 

Glory Kilanko, director and CEO of Women Watch Afrika, a local immigrant support group, hailed the council’s decision. 

“I’m so happy,” she said. “Our elected officials did what was right.” 

Channel 2's Carl Willis reports.

Immigration watchdogs say the rule of law, security and taxpayer dollars are at stake. 

“Being a Georgia resident, I don’t want to see neighboring towns and communities enabling illegals who are breaking the law,” Shawn Hanley, the vice chairman of Georgia’s Immigration Enforcement Review Board, said in an interview last week when Clarkston’s was mulling the measure.

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