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Following runoff defeat, Will Casey Cagle’s complaint against Decatur lose momentum?

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Following runoff defeat, Will Casey Cagle’s complaint against Decatur lose momentum?


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Casey Cagle

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle lost the state gubernatorial primary runoff to Secretary of State Brian Kemp on Tuesday, but a complaint he filed against the city of Decatur has not been resolved.

That complaint, which accused the heavily Democratic city of violating state law prohibiting sanctuary cities, became a visible part of Cagle’s campaign for the Republican nomination. The Immigration Enforcement Review Board issued a preliminary ruling on the complaint days before the Republican gubernatorial primary in May. As the state’s lieutenant governor, Cagle also appoints two members to the IERB.

The IERB’s preliminary ruling determined Decatur is a sanctuary city and said Decatur needs to repeal its policy regarding cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement or risk being stripped of state funding. Decatur in 2017 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.


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The IERB has not officially voted on the ruling after postponing a vote planned for the board’s June 27 meeting. The board currently does not have any meeting scheduled. Decatur has asked a judge to throw out that ruling, after filing lawsuits alleging IERB violated state open records and meetings laws. Board Chairman Shawn Hanley called the lawsuits “frivolous.”

Following Cagle’s loss, Hanley said he could not comment on where things stand.

“It’s still an open case, so I still cannot comment specifically on the case,” he said.

Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett said the city does not have a date for the next hearing.

“I don’t think the election results will change the process,” Garrett said.

The Dustin Inman Society, a hardline anti illegal-immigration group that has filed most of the complaints received by the IERB board, says Cagle’s complaint is without merit. The group’s founder, D.A. King, is ticked off that IERB fast-tracked Cagle’s complaint while his group has had complaints pending since 2015.

King predicted that the preliminary ruling against Decatur will be thrown out following Cagle’s defeat.

“Neutral observers, including this one, who actually understand the state law will not be at all surprised to see the ridiculous political preliminary finding for Cagle’s campaign reversed now that the Lt. Governor has lost the run-off,” King said. “The city of Decatur was virtue signaling for the anti-enforcement left when they published the guidelines on illegal aliens and federal authorities but none of the rules violate the existing state – or federal law.”

Decatur Attorney Bryan Downs isn’t sure what effect Cagle’s defeat will have on his complaint filed with the IERB.

“Since last October, candidate Cagle has used the taxpayer-funded resources of the Office of Lieutenant Governor to pursue a politically motivated proceeding for the benefit of his campaign,” Downs said. “Cagle’s complaint to the IERB is without legal merit – the Decatur Police Department policy in question simply does not violate Georgia’s ‘sanctuary policy’ statute. The IERB has refused to produce communications between IERB members and the Office of Lieutenant Governor, the Cagle campaign and a pro-Cagle PAC. Among other errors the IERB has made in the proceeding against the city of Decatur, the IERB has repeatedly violated Georgia’s anti-secrecy laws in ways that render its actions to date null and void.”

Downs added, “I also know that Police Chief Mike Booker’s invitation to the Lt. Governor still stands: that these two Georgians ought to sit down over a cup of coffee and discuss the Decatur Police Department policy and any true concerns the Lt. Governor has about it.”

Cagle did not return a message seeking comment for this story and has not returned messages seeking comment for previous Decaturish stories about this issue.

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