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Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle demands answer on immigration policy after city responds to letter

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Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle demands answer on immigration policy after city responds to letter

Photo illustration obtained via https://www.ice.gov/

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Photo illustration obtained via https://www.ice.gov/

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the leading Republican candidate for governor, is escalating his attacks on the city of Decatur’s perceived “sanctuary” policy.

Cagle says he is outraged by Decatur’s decision to put a longstanding policy in writing regarding cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The city said it does not detain immigrants without a valid warrant from ICE and never has. Officers who violate the policy could face disciplinary action.

The decision to put the policy in writing is what led to Cagle’s letter. To read the policy, click here.

He’s now telling local TV networks that the city has until Nov. 1 to respond. The city sent Cagle a response on Oct. 9.

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The letter, from Attorney Bryan Downs, says, “A review of the actual facts makes clear that the City of Decatur continues to comply fully with [state law]. On September 29, 2017, the City of Decatur Police Department amended its General Order Manual to memorialize in written form what has been the Police Department’s practice for at least the past eleven years that Chief Mike Booker has been in office. This policy, a copy of which is enclosed for your review, addresses arrest, detention and custody of individuals pursuant to judicially issued warrants, consistent with the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Here is a copy of the letter:

Decatur City Attorney’s Letter to State Auditor

Decatur’s City Commission has also flatly refused to adopt “sanctuary city”  status as other cities around the country have done. A resident requested the city do so at the Dec. 19, 2016 City Commission meeting. Mayor Patti Garrett said the city could not do this, citing state law.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Decatur’s policy – now in written form – covers ICE detainers, requests to hold people for 48 hours so they can be picked up by federal immigration agents.

Decatur does not have a jail, the policy notes.

“Since the Decatur Police Department does not have a facility to house an arrested person, it will be the responsibility of the DeKalb County Jail to assure that ICE notifies the person’s attorney and provides a reasonable opportunity for the person’s attorney to be present during an interview,” the policy says.

Hate Free Decatur, the group which has been pushing the city to remove the city’s Confederate monument and pressured the city to adopt a non-detainer policy, accused Cagle of spreading “anti-immigrant lies.”

“Cagle lies in saying the City of Decatur’s policy prohibits communication with ICE, when it does nothing of the kind,” the group said. “The Lt. Governor has further demonstrated his willingness to spread misinformation with a misleading online petition. Anti-immigrant activists are using misinformation to, once again, push their white supremacist agenda and further criminalize communities of color. Falsehoods perpetuated by the office of the Lt. Governor are an insult to the people of Decatur, Clarkston, Atlanta, and Georgia at large.

“We condemn Lt. Governor Cagle for using such cheap tactics to benefit his social standing among far-right and anti-immigrant groups during his run for Governorship. We want our elected officials to have the moral fiber to speak the truth even if it doesn’t chime with their own opinions – Cagle’s campaign launch does not pass this bar.”

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