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Dear Decaturish – Rep. Oliver says Casey Cagle has made Decatur a campaign target

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Dear Decaturish – Rep. Oliver says Casey Cagle has made Decatur a campaign target

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver discussed proposed reforms to the cityhood process during a CClairmont Heights Civic Association meeting. Photo by: Dyana Bagby
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State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver discussed proposed reforms to the cityhood process during a CClairmont Heights Civic Association meeting. Photo by: Dyana Bagby

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Dear Decaturish,

Next year at this time, we will be in the last days of the 2018 campaign for Governor, and it is my hope that one of the super stars named Stacey will win, and be Georgia’s first woman Governor. In the meantime, candidate Casey Cagle has decided that the City of Decatur will be a campaign target and enemy to assist him demonize undocumented immigrants. Casey Cagle’s allegations that Decatur is a “sanctuary city” are false, but deserve an analysis, and I hope that an intellectually honest discussion can save the taxpayers unnecessary expense and pain. Fingers crossed.

The complicated issues of law enforcement, public safety, and immigration are important, and are relevant to the voters. In 2016, the Georgia General Assembly passed a law entitled “Prohibition on immigration sanctuary policies by local governmental entities”. Cagle contends that a recent policy adopted by Decatur on notification procedures to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) violates this statute. Decatur’s lawyer responded to Lt. Governor Cagle that the September 29, 2017 action by the Decatur Police Department amended its General Order Manual to memorialize in written form a practice that has existed for eleven years. The General Order Manual addresses arrest, custody, and detention policies pursuant to issued warrants for individuals that is consistent with constitutional protections of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution. It does not address, prohibit or restrict communications or cooperation with federal officials regarding reporting immigration status information, and therefore does not violate O.C.G.A. 36-80-23.

Candidate Cagle is continuing his argument, threatening the withdrawal of state budgeted monies to Decatur and the Decatur School System, and I am worried that he will continue this campaign into the courts and propose new and more punitive legislation towards local governments in the 2018 session. None of this activity targeting undocumented immigrants helps or protects the citizens of Decatur, but will cost money and time and painful effort. I hope I am wrong, and this campaign activity can be avoided, and the elected leadership of Decatur will be allowed to worry about the real problems our citizens face.

Modern campaigns are in part based on theatre, drama, and efforts to gain attention from the “base”, and there is no dispute that anti- immigration issues are prominent in Republican campaigns. Hyperbolic campaigning, from either party, is a problem for voters, and requires us to be more diligent to understand candidate arguments in an objective way. As the back and forth on issues of immigration between candidate Cagle and elected Decatur officials continues, let us try to avoid a waste of time and money, and focus more on an honest policy debate. Thank you.

– State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver

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