Diverse Group of Immigrant Rights Organizations Condemn HB 1105 As Dangerous and Discriminatory

STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 6, 2024

CONTACT:
James Woo, Advancing Justice-Atlanta, jwoo@advancingjustice-atlanta.org

Daniela Rodriguez, Migrant Equity Southeast, Daniela@migrantequity.org 

Shelley Danzy, Project South, shelley@projectsouth.org 

Preye Cobham, Esq., Women Watch Afrika, womenwatchafrika@gmail.com

Daniela Racines, Latino Community Fund, daniela@lcfgeorgia.org 

Ashley Coleman, Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies, ashley.coleman@weinspirit.org 

Lauren Frazier, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, lfrazier@gbpi.org 

Sebastian Saavedra, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, sebastian@glahr.org 

Nekessa Opoti, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, comms@baji.org 

Aimee Zangandoum, Inspiritus, aimee.zangandou@weinspirit.org 

Nazia Khanzada, Council on American-Islamic Relations Georgia, nkhanzada@cair.com 

Darlene Lynch, The Center for Victims of Torture and Business & Immigration for Georgia (BIG) Partnerships,, Dlynch@cvt.org 

Alba Villarreal, GALEO Impact Fund, avillarreal@galeoimpactfund.org 

Atlanta, GA — Immigrant rights organizations and their allies condemn Georgia House Bill 1105, which recently passed the House and endangers Georgia’s immigrant communities, promotes racial profiling, and undermines local law enforcement discretion.

HB 1105 would mandate local law enforcement take steps to enter into costly and destructive contracts with the federal government like 287(g) that deputize law enforcement to interpret and enforce federal immigration law, or else lose state or state-administered funding. The proposed legislation would force local sheriff departments to entangle themselves with ICE in dangerous ways that are unconstitutional and will result in racial profiling, targeting of people of color, and family separations, all while discouraging communities from seeking help from law enforcement or reporting crimes. These high-risk practices endanger Georgia communities and create additional liabilities, costs, and bureaucratic burdens for law enforcement without increasing public safety.

Politicians are exploiting the tragic killing of Laken Riley to justify harmful proposals that broadly target immigrant communities by requiring local law enforcement, under threat of criminal prosecution, to identify and report “suspected foreign nationals” to ICE if they cannot immediately provide documentation proving their immigration or citizenship status. Falsely connecting immigrant communities with crime represents the height of political opportunism and is not based in fact. In reality, studies repeatedly have shown that undocumented immigrants commit substantially fewer crimes than U.S.-born citizens, and federal courts have struck down laws similarly targeting immigrants. Such reactionary practices serve only to deepen communities’ distrust of police and do nothing to address interpersonal violence.

The ineffective policies in HB 1105 will not make Georgia safer. Instead, the bill represents yet another attempt to vilify immigrant communities as a whole. Alongside HB 1105, the Georgia legislature has introduced a slew of anti-immigrant bills this legislative session, including proposals like SR 721, SB 568 and SB 569, which are still being discussed and could be added to HB 1105.

We reject all policies that discriminate against communities of color, cause harm to families, and fail to recognize that immigrants and people of color are full and equal members of our communities.

“Immigrants make Georgia a richer, more diverse, and inclusive place for all. For the 1.1 million residents born beyond our borders who proudly call Georgia home, they are not merely residents; they are integral contributors to our shared community. Rather than perpetuating divisive ‘us against them’ narratives, we should unite in collaboration, crafting inclusive policies that celebrate the immense value immigrants bring to Georgia. Together, we can build a stronger, more harmonious future for all.” – Murtaza Khwaja, Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta

“Migrant Equity Southeast condemns HB1105 as it is an aimless attack on immigrants all across Georgia. This bill undermines the human rights of immigrants with its intent to criminalize immigrants. This bill will not protect anyone and would only harm, distress, and demean our immigrant communities from Savannah to Atlanta.” – Daniela Rodriguez, Executive Director, Migrant Equity Southeast

“It is appalling that legislators would politicize a tragedy for their own gain by attempting to pass a bill that would make our communities less safe. Failed policies like 287(g) result in racial profiling, terrorizing immigrant communities, and wasting local resources. ICE detainers have a track record of being error prone and oftentimes unconstitutional. It is clear that this draconian bill will further advance dangerous anti-immigrant rhetoric and create a hostile environment for all communities of color.” – Priyanka Bhatt, Senior Staff Attorney, Project South

“An attack on the immigrant community is an attack on all communities. Elected officials should focus on the true issue at hand, which is the unfortunate and tragic loss of life. What are elected officials planning to put in place to prevent such violence against women that can occur regardless of the immigration status of the perpetrator? The misdirected anger at the immigrant communities for the alleged action of one is uncalled for, and we ask that you reject all discriminatory policies, divisive rhetoric, and attacks on the immigrant communities.” – Glory Kilanko, Founder and CEO, Women Watch Afrika

“Immigrants are essential to the fabric of our communities, state, and nation. Nationality, race, gender, faith or religion, and immigration status play a role in all narratives, certain characteristics should not be used to make generalizations, assumptions, or accusations about large groups of people.” – Jean-Luc Rivera, Deputy Executive Director, Latino Community Fund

“As the longest-serving coalition representing immigrants, refugees, and welcoming communities in Georgia, the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies stands in vehement opposition to HB 1105. This legislation does not offer any meaningful policy solutions to promote public safety and mitigate violence against women; rather, it serves as a politically expedient opportunity to vilify all of Georgia’s immigrants as bad actors and perpetuate a harmful and unequivocally false narrative about Georgia’s immigrants as perpetrators of violent crimes. Rather than making our local communities safer, this bill would in fact make our communities less safe by pitting immigrants, refugees, and communities of color against local law enforcement officers and simultaneously undermining the autonomy of local law enforcement agencies to make their own decisions according to the preferences of local sheriffs and the voters within their jurisdictions. Georgia’s foreign-born communities are a pillar of our state’s economy and local neighborhoods and this bill would greatly undermine the myriad contributions they’ve made to our great state.” – Ashley Coleman and Muzhda Oriakhil, Co-Chairs, Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies

“GBPI opposes HB 1105, The Georgia Criminal Alien Track and Report Act of 2024, which essentially turns the entire state into an involuntary 287(g) jurisdiction, forcing local police to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The bill could be expensive, threatens local police with criminal penalties, deprives them of critical funding, and strips them of discretion to serve the specific needs of their local communities. On the whole, the bill sets the state back years, rejecting hard lessons learned from decades of overzealous immigration enforcement that separated families and generated community mistrust.” – David Schaefer, Vice President of Research and Policy, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

“We at GLAHR, firmly oppose HB 1105 due to the severe impact it will have on our communities. It will greatly decrease the public safety of immigrant communities as they will no longer feel safe calling law enforcement for fear of incarceration, even if they are victims.This bill would greatly increase racial profiling, no matter the gravity of offenses. There have already been reported incidents of harassment of Latino students at UGA and not a single elected official backing HB 1105 has spoken up to condemn this dehumanizing behavior. The circumstances of the momentum behind this bill shed light on the state’s bias and disregard for the wellbeing of women of color across Georgia. HB 1105 is not addressing violence against women, but using this unfortunate incident to weaponize an anti-immigrant sentiment for political gain. This bill is only one of the many anti-immigrant legislations on the floor this season, showing a clear sentiment coming from the Capitol that should worry every Georgian, regardless of their status.” – Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights

“The Black Alliance for Just Immigration demands that Georgia legislators must not adopt harmful policies that threaten the livelihood of immigrants. HB 1105 is a violation of the civil liberties of immigrants. This bill will allow law enforcement to further racially profile Black and brown people and will over-police and increase surveillance of Black and brown communities. We extend our sympathies to the family of Ms Riley; and are appalled that her death is being exploited to harm marginalized communities.” – Lovette K. Thompson, Lead Organizer, Black Alliance for Just Immigration

“As one of the oldest refugee and immigrant-serving organizations in Georgia, Inspiritus stands with our foreign-born clients and community members in opposition to HB 1105. For decades, our organization has helped thousands of refugees to Georgia, accompanying them on a path from surviving to thriving as they grow to become successful, contributing members of their new local communities. This bill perpetuates harmful, untrue stereotypes about the individuals and families we serve and undermines our state’s proud historical legacy as national leaders in refugee resettlement. Georgia is a welcoming state and we ask our state lawmakers to ensure it stays that way.” – Aimee Zangandou, Executive Director of Refugee and Immigrant Services, Inspiritus

“This is exactly how anti-immigrant sentiment works. When a white man murders someone, he does so as an individual. Most mass shootings in this country are committed by young white men, but we don’t blame all young white men. But when an undocumented man from Venezuela is arrested, he is cast as the prototypical example of a violent community of undocumented immigrants. The truth is that immigrants are people too, representing the full range of human temperament and experience. The truth is that the immigrant community is being scapegoated for our country’s failure to meaningfully address violence against women. HB 1105 will not make anyone safer. Anti-immigrant laws like this never have, and they never will.” – Megan Gordon, Policy Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations – Georgia

“The Center for Victims of Torture provides healing care to refugees and immigrants who have endured war and conflict and seek to live peaceful and productive lives in the state. HB 1105 is a discriminatory bill that would unfairly target these individuals while doing little to stop the violence we all abhor.” – Darlene Lynch, Head of External Relations, Center for Victims of Torture Georgia

“One in ten Georgians is an immigrant, as are one in seven Georgia workers, one in five small business owners and more than one in four physicians and surgeons serving as a lifeline for Georgians living in the state’s rural and underserved areas. Yet, HB 1105 singles out these Georgians as potential bad actors that should be feared. Georgians would be better served by legislation that targets crime by any and all individuals regardless of background.” – Darlene Lynch, Chair, BIG Partnership

“If passed, HB 1105 would drive a wedge between local public safety officials and the communities they serve, perpetuate harmful stereotypes about Latinos and immigrants, and do nothing to address the very real issue of violence against women. This will have a costly and disruptive impact on Georgia families, businesses, and communities; this is the wrong message for our state to be sending at a time when radicalized individuals have shown an increased willingness to embrace extreme ideologies, harm innocent people, and terrorize whole communities. Any meaningful path forward must include local leaders, community members, and relevant stakeholders each step of the way.” – Kyle Gomez-Leineweber, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, GALEO Impact Fund, Inc.

“As the lead organization being impacted by ‘crimmigration’ – the criminalization of immigrants – we came here looking only for protection. For safety. To save our lives, we came to the U.S., because we believe this is a country where people have rights, and where protections exist for our communities no matter our race, gender, or social status. Our organization works with queer, trans, and Indigenous communities who are in fear because of this proposed legislation. Stop the politics, and stop using us as bait for your political gain.” Li Ann Sanchez, CEO, Community EsTr(El/La)

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