“Throughout this process, I’ve simply been calling on the City of Decatur to follow the law,” his statement says. “Common-sense Georgians understand that Decatur’s policy is a blatant attempt to ignore Georgia’s immigration laws.”
He added, “Law enforcement agencies at every level of government must work together to make sure that criminal illegal aliens who harm our citizens are arrested, convicted, deported, and never allowed back inside our nation’s borders.”
At issue is a Decatur policy that prohibits city police from arresting, detaining or transporting anyone based solely on a detainer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Such detainers are requests to hold people for up to 48 hours beyond when they would normally be released so the agency can pick them up and seek to deport them. Some federal courts have found complying with ICE detainers can violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Cagle has accused the city of violating a state law that prohibits blocking local authorities from “communicating or cooperating with federal officials or law enforcement officers with regard to reporting immigration status information.” Decatur has denied Cagle’s allegations.
In defending Decatur on Monday, Downs called several city officials to testify before the board, including Police Chief Mike Booker. The chief testified that his officers are not blocked from communicating or cooperating with ICE. He also pointed out the city doesn’t have its own jail and added he couldn’t recall his office ever interacting with ICE or receiving an ICE detainer.
“As long as we have a judicial warrant,” Booker said, “we will treat it like any other arrest we have ever made and offer full assistance.”