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GA Mayor defended sanctuary city policies just two days after illegal migra

A newly released email shows that Georgia’s mayor of Athens, a Democrat, defended liberal sanctuary policies just two days after an illegal-immigrant allegedly murdered 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley. While Georgia law explicitly forbids sanctuary policies, some localities such as Athens have adopted a sanctuary-like status, reports National Review.

According to emails obtained by Republican Representative Mike Collins of Georgia through the Georgia Open Records Act, Athens mayor Kelly Girtz told Clarke County sheriff John Williams that he endorses non-cooperation policies with detainers issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“While the community is experiencing deep trauma right now, and emotions are understandably raw, I support the detainer policy as one that is both humane and following the well-documented propensity of immigrants in the U.S. to be less criminally inclined than the native-born population,” Girtz wrote, citing recent Stanford University research that concluded immigrants are 60 percent less likely to be incarcerated than American-born citizens.

In his email to Williams, Girtz also stressed that one should “focus on comfort and unity” and “avoid political messaging” in the wake of Riley’s death. The mayor responded after Williams asked whether Athens is legally considered a sanctuary city, as he was unfamiliar with its status.

“If the [Athens-Clarke County Unified Government] embraces being considered a sanctuary, then come out and say so. If not please clear this up,” the sheriff wrote. “If the ACCGOV will not address this, I will do everything in my power to protect the integrity and professionalism of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and myself.”

National Review reports:

Under a policy instituted by Williams’s predecessor, the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office refuses to detain illegal immigrants after they’ve been arrested at ICE’s request.

“The law requires us to notify ICE whenever we book someone either known or suspected to be a foreign national,” the Clarke County Sheriff’s office previously told National Review. “Our policy reflects that. ICE detainers are requests, not a court order or warrant. Holding a person based solely on an ICE detainer constitutes a warrantless arrest.”

The Athens city council unanimously passed a resolution in 2019 “to foster a community where individuals and families of all statuses feel safe,” so that “all people, including those without documentation, feel welcome and comfortable interacting with local law enforcement, their local government, and all services provided by such.”

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