Mayor Bottoms defends order prohibiting jail from accepting ICE detainees

- Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has signed an executive order prohibiting Atlanta's City Detention Center from accepting any new ICE detainees.

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In a statement released Wednesday, Bottoms said that she was "watching the impact of President Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy on children and families."

The City of Atlanta has an agreement with the U.S. Marshall's Office to house detainees arrested by ICE in the jail.

"As we work as a nation to end this despicable immigration policy, the City of Atlanta will not take the risk of being complicit in the separation of families at the border," Bottoms said. "Thus, I have signed an Executive Order that prohibits the City jail from accepting any new ICE detainees."

 

Previously, Bottoms had shared a tweet by former Attorney General Eric Holder that said the division of families "brought shame to our nation." Today, she called the act "inhumane" in her statement.

Bottoms called for the Trump Administration and Congress to "enact humane and comprehensive measures that address our broken immigration system. Slightly after the release was distributed, Trump signed an executive order which would end the process of separating children from families after they are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally.

You can read the entire statement below:

I, like many others, have been horrified watching the impact of President Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy on children and families. My personal angst has been compounded by the City of Atlanta’s long-standing agreement with the U. S. Marshall’s Office to house ICE detainees in our City jail. While this arrangement may seem hypocritical to my personal stance, the reality of the detention of those seeking legal status in our country is most often not if they are detained, but where they will be held. As we work as a nation to end this despicable immigration policy, the City of Atlanta will not take the risk of being complicit in the separation of families at the border. Thus, I have signed an Executive Order that prohibits the City jail from accepting any new ICE detainees. 

I am concerned that the City’s refusal to accept detainees will result in individuals being sent to private, substandard, for-profit facilities in the state, as these facilities do not offer publicly-funded access to legal representation that may help detainees successfully challenge their immigration status, but the inhumane action of family separation demands that Atlanta act now. 

On behalf of the people of Atlanta, I am calling upon the Trump Administration and Congress to enact humane and comprehensive measures that address our broken immigration system. 

I have instructed City officials to closely monitor this situation and ensure that Atlanta continues to fulfill our legacy of inclusion, compassion and tolerance.

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