State Representative Jesse Petrea (R-Savannah) recently introduced legislation to provide a criminal penalty for sheriff’s offices that refuse to follow Georgia state law on sanctuary policies.
The bill, according to his press release, politically targets Offices of the Sheriff, but legally goes after jailers working under those sheriffs.
House Bill 1105, the “Georgia Criminal Alien Track and Report Act of 2024,” would make it a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature for sheriffs to disregard Georgia laws against “sanctuary” policies.
Specifically, HB 1105 requires county jails to verify citizenship and contact federal agencies in the event that verification can not be done locally. If a language barrier exists, a jail is required to obtain an interpreter to facilitate the process. All communications with ICE would have to be recorded in the inmate’s jail file.
The bill does not allow counties to detail ‘illegals’ based solely on status unless the LESC of the United States Department of Homeland Security or the local United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division of the Department of Homeland Security specifically provides written instructions for detaining such inmate as an illegal alien. It would be prohibited for inmates to be held no longer than 48 hours pursuant to an immigration detainer or an immigration warrant, unless such warrant is signed by a federal judge or federal magistrate.
The bill would also require the Georgia Department of Corrections to provide a report to be published on the agency website aggregated data on the immigration status, offenses, and home countries of inmates who are not United States citizens, who are confined under the authority of the department. The report would be published on October 1, 2024 and updated every 90 days thereafter, by law.
Similarly, jails would be required to submit reports about inmates and their country of origin as well as their legal status and data on interactions with federal agencies with regards to those inmates.
“These laws are currently being ignored by certain sheriffs who are sworn to honor and enforce state laws,” said Rep. Petrea. “Current state law requires Georgia sheriffs to report illegal aliens among confined individuals to the federal immigration authorities. However, this crucial requirement lacks teeth, as there are no penalties for noncompliance. With an alarming influx of an estimated 10 million illegal aliens who have entered our country in the last three years alone, the issue is more concerning than ever. Currently, Georgia’s state prisons house 1,579 criminal illegals with ICE Detainers, many charged with violent crimes such as child molestation, murder, rape and aggravated child molestation. This statistic excludes those currently housed in Georgia’s local jails. It is inconceivable to think that a sheriff would find it appropriate to flagrantly disregard state laws while holding others accountable. HB 1105 will ensure that all sheriffs are following current state law regarding illegal aliens in local jails.”
HB 1105 has been assigned to the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.
The full text of HB 1105 may be found here.
Representative Jesse Petrea represents the citizens of District 166, which includes portions of Bryan and Chatham counties. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2014 and currently serves as Chairman of the Human Relations & Aging Committee and as Secretary of the Game, Fish & Parks Committee. He also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and the Health, Industry and Labor, Natural Resources & Environment and Public Safety and Homeland Security committees.