Atlanta Council calls for limiting cooperation with ICE

Hundreds of activists on Monday demonstrated outside the Atlanta City Detention Center in favor of an Obama administration program that temporarily shields young immigrants from deportation.

Credit: Jeremy Redmon

Credit: Jeremy Redmon

Atlanta councilmembers have passed a symbolic resolution calling on the city police to limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

The council’s 9-1 vote Tuesday followed the Trump administration’s decision to rescind Obama-era protections for nearly 800,000 young immigrants, many of whom were brought here as children.

Among other things, the council’s resolution says city police should not arrest or detain anyone based on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests called “detainers” or “administrative immigration warrants.”

ICE routinely issues such requests for jails to hold people for an additional 48 hours — excluding weekends and holidays — so the federal agency may pick them up and attempt to deport them. Critics point to federal court rulings that say jailing people based on ICE detainers can violate their constitutional rights.

The council’s vote follows a similar decision by Clarkston’s City Council in May.

RELATED: Georgia city votes to limit cooperation with immigration officers

Mayor Kasim Reed’s office had no immediate comment on the council’s resolution Wednesday. But he released a statement Tuesday condemning Trump’s decision to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. As of March, the program has provided work permits and deportation deferrals to 24,135 young immigrants in Georgia.

“Eliminating DACA is a shameful abdication of moral leadership,” Reed said. “By ending this program, the president is breaking a promise that the federal government made to the nearly 800,000 young people in our country who stepped forward, passed background checks and have been granted permission to live and work legally in the United States.”

Sponsored by Councilman Kwanza Hall, the council’s resolution also puts the city on record against Trump’s actions.

“What if they were your children?” Hall said in a prepared statement. “Now is one of those defining moments for the city of Atlanta – we must lead based on justice and compassion and standing with these children is the message this resolution sends.”

Also Tuesday, the council voted 8-2 in favor of a separate resolution --- sponsored by Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong -- that urges Trump to reverse his decision on DACA.

ICE spokesman Bryan Cox issued a statement Wednesday, saying his agency is “committed to collaborating with jurisdictions throughout Georgia and nationwide to promote public safety.”

“In its interactions with local and state counterparts,” he said, “ICE explains its mission and seeks to educate local authorities about the ramifications when that cooperation is absent, which threatens public safety when criminal aliens are released into our communities rather than into ICE custody.”

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