Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Thursday signed an executive order to permanently stop the city jail from receiving people detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The order also directs the Atlanta City Department of Corrections chief to formally request that ICE officials transfer all current detainees from the Atlanta City Detention Center as soon as possible.
“As we work to achieve our vision of an Atlanta that is welcoming and inclusive, with equal opportunity for all, it is untenable for our City to be complicit in the inhumane immigration policies that have led to the separation of hundreds of families at the United States southern border,” Bottoms said in a statement.
The move comes months after Bottoms signed a separate order that blocked the city jail from accepting any new ICE detainees amid enforcement of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which resulted in migrant families being separated at the border.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that there were 205 ICE detainees in the jail in June, and that number decreased to just five as of Wednesday.
A spokesperson for ICE confirmed to the newspaper that all of the agency’s detainees at the Atlanta City Detention Center would be transferred by the end of Thursday.
“I do not make this decision lightly, or without concern as to the impact on these individuals,” Bottoms’ statement read. “But until there is comprehensive immigration reform, this is the only way Atlanta can truly fulfill its legacy of compassion and tolerance. Civil offenses do not warrant criminal consequences – and no one should be jailed solely because they seek the American Dream.”
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