War of words

Casey Cagle

Lt. Governor Cagle issues warning to Decatur


 In the battle of city versus state over “sanctuary cities,” Lt. Governor Casey Cagle threw another jab, issuing an ultimatum to Decatur.

 Cagle wrote on Facebook Nov. 1 saying he would give Decatur a last opportunity to “abandon their practice of harboring criminal illegal immigrants” or he would work to take away the city’s funding.

 “Today is the deadline. If the City of Decatur does not abandon [its] practice of harboring criminal illegal immigrants who have already committed terrible crimes in our country, I will start the process to withhold state funding,” Cagle wrote, posting it to his Facebook profile. “We must protect Georgians from these criminal illegal immigrants. Sign your name to help me stop the liberal leadership in Decatur.”

 Along with his message, Cagle posted a link to a petition named “Defund Decatur.” The Champion attempted to view the online petition to observe how many individuals had signed it, but was unable.

 The website requests that petition signees provide a name, email address and zip code then asks to take “the next step” by giving a $10 donate to the Cagle for Georgia contribution fund to promote the petition.

 In less than 24 hours, Cagle’s post was shared more than 400 times.

 On Sept. 29 the city of Decatur commission issued an amendment to the Decatur Police Department General Order Manual, adding Section 03-d “Immigration Status.”

 City officials stated the amendment “codified” a long-standing practice by the Decatur police and police departments throughout the state.

 According to the policy, “the Decatur Police Department shall not arrest, hold, extend the detention of, transfer custody of, or transport anyone solely on the basis of an immigration detainer or an administrativeimmigration warrant, including an administrative immigration warrant in the National CrimeInformation Center (NCIC) database. Any officer that violates the general order will be subject to disciplinary action.”

 On Nov. 1, Decatur officials released a statement responding to accusations that it is a “sanctuary city.”  

 In the statement, Decatur city officials said State Senator Elena Parent requested Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr’s opinion regarding the issue of whether the Decatur Police Department’s police violates any state or federal law.

 “The City of Decatur is not a sanctuary city. We are aware of a number of cities and counties in Georgia that have adopted similar, if not broader, immigrant status policies, so this is a question of statewide significance,” said Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett in a statement. “Our Police Department does not recall ever receiving a detainer request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  We do not operate jail facilities to detain anyone, regardless of the law enforcement organization making such a request. Frankly, we are uncertain as to why the City of Decatur has been singled out on this issue.”

 City Attorney Bryan Downs stated he disagrees with Cagle’s interpretation of the law, adding “we are hopeful that the attorney general will provide clarity because at present, we have what appear to be legally unsupported ultimatums from a powerful state official who wants to intervene in the wording of our local police department policies.”

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