Crime

Georgia Considering Public List Of Criminal Immigrants

| by Robert Fowler

The Georgia Legislature is considering a bill that would require local jails to provide the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with data on undocumented immigrants who have been detained. The legislation also calls for the GBI to make available to the public on a monthly basis a database of undocumented immigrants who have been arrested.

On Feb. 22, Republican state Rep. Jesse Petrea of Georgia introduced House Bill 452, which would establish a public database detailing crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in the Peach State.

HB 452 has already been passed by the Georgia state House by a vote of 144 to 26. The state Senate has until March 30 to vote on the bill before their legislative session ends, according to the National Review. 

If signed into law, the bill would require that state jails provide a list of undocumented immigrants who have been arrested and detained. The law would go into effect on Aug. 15, according to the Atlanta Patch.

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The legislation states that on the 15th day of each month, state jails must "provide to the [GBI] a list containing each person who is confined in such jail during the preceding calendar month and who is not a citizen of the United States."

Petrea had expressed that he wants his bill to only apply to undocumented immigrants who have been detained for a violent crime, AJC reports.

Georgia jails would be required to provide the GBI with the names, known aliases, nationality, and identification information of undocumented immigrants who have been arrested. The bill calls for jails that do not comply to be stripped of both state and federal funding, according to 11 Alive.

Petrea's bill also calls for the the GBI to establish a website to compile the names and information of detained undocumented immigrants and update it within 12 hours of receiving new information. The GBI would also be required to provide a copy of the database to the Georgia Sheriff's Association.

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Lastly, the legislation requires that the GBI make its updated database available to the public on the 20th day of each month.

An estimated 375,000 undocumented immigrants live in Georgia.

The Georgia bill echoes the Trump administration's announcement that the Department of Homeland Security will establish a new agency that will publish national data of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants on a daily basis. The agency will be called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, according to the Los Angeles Times.

On Feb. 28, President Donald Trump touted the new initiative during his first address before a joint session of Congress, stating that publishing data on crimes committed by the undocumented would give "a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests."

Professor of Criminology Daniel Mears of Florida State University asserts that studies have shown that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit a crime than their native-born counterparts. In his view, publishing a list of undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes counterproductive.

"What's the goal here?" Mears told CBS News. "If the goal is to vilify immigrants or to create the appearance that immigrants disproportionately contribute to crime in America -- which isn't true -- then that makes sense. But if the goal is to reduce crime, this isn't going to get you anywhere."

Sources: AJCAtlanta Patch, CBS News11 AliveLos Angeles TimesNational Review / Photo Credit: Julie, Dave & Family/Flickr

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