People living in Georgia without legal status would more easily end up in deportation proceedings under a bill passed by the state Senate on Monday along a party-line vote.
SB 452 would require local law enforcement and court officials in Georgia report to U.S. immigration enforcement if they learn a suspect is in the country illegally.
“This bill,” said Republican state Sen. Jesse Stone, its lead sponsor, “ensures that those here illegally will be appropriately dealt with when they come within our criminal justice system.”
Immigrant-rights advocates protested outside the state Capitol after the bill passed. They said it would create distrust between immigrant communities and police.
“When people are afraid to contact police, who are serving and protecting the communities, this is very detrimental,” said Maria Palacios, a policy analyst with the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.
Immigrant-rights advocates call the bill unconstitutional because it requires that police detain people for something they weren’t arrested for.
Supporters of the bill said it’s good for public safety, and necessary to maintain the rule of law.
The measure now moves to the Georgia House.