Georgia Mayor DEFENDED Illegals Days After Laken Riley Murder, Newly Released Emails Show

By Lisa Pelgin | Saturday, 06 April 2024 04:30 PM
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In the wake of a tragic incident involving an illegal immigrant and a young nursing student, Athens, Georgia Mayor Kelly Girtz has staunchly defended his city's policy of safeguarding undocumented migrants from the clutches of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

This comes in light of the murder of 22-year-old Laken Riley, allegedly committed by an illegal immigrant, as per emails procured by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI).

Riley, a nursing student, was out jogging on the University of Georgia campus when she was reportedly accosted and killed by Jose Antonio Ibarra, an undocumented migrant from Venezuela, on February 22. In an email exchange with Clarke County Sheriff John Williams on February 24, Girtz expressed his unwavering support for Athens' stance on ICE detainers and its limited cooperation with the agency.

Girtz wrote to Williams, "One protocol that arises in discussion sometimes is the willingness (or lack thereof) of a jail to honor ICE detainers and hold in jail undocumented persons who have not committed an offense for which no legal resident would be held, simply because a person is undocumented." He further noted that Williams' predecessor had altered the Sheriff's Office's previous position to eliminate detainer holds.

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Cities that offer refuge to illegal migrants, often labeled as "sanctuary cities," frequently decline to honor ICE detainers. These detainers are essentially requests to state or local enforcement agencies to inform ICE before releasing an illegal criminal migrant from state custody. This allows ICE to apprehend them and transfer them to federal authorities for detention or possible deportation, as explained by the American Immigration Council.

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Girtz further argued that illegal immigrants are less likely to engage in criminal activities than native-born Americans, citing research conducted by Stanford University. "I support the detainer policy as one that is both humane and following the well-documented propensity of immigrants in the U.S. to be less criminally inclined than the native-born population," Girtz stated in his email to Williams.

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In response to Williams' query about whether Athens identifies as a sanctuary city, Girtz did not provide a direct answer. He explained, "The term 'sanctuary city' does not have a sole legal or procedural definition; instead it is a somewhat generic term that means different things to different people depending on the context of a discussion."

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The alleged perpetrator, Ibarra, was arrested shortly after the murder of Riley and is currently facing multiple charges, including felony and malice murder, assault, false imprisonment, and kidnapping. He was apprehended while attempting to cross the southern border in El Paso, Texas, but was eventually released into the country due to a lack of detention space.

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Illegal immigration through the southern border has seen a significant increase under the Biden administration. Over 2 million migrant apprehensions were recorded at the southern border in the fiscal year 2023, a substantial increase from approximately 1.6 million in FY2021.

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