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The Georgia State House has approved a bill that authorizes the arrest of individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.

House Bill 1105, passed with a 97-74 vote, empowers police to detain individuals on probable cause of unlawful US presence for deportation purposes. This legislative move was influenced by the death of 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley in Athens, Georgia, with the suspect, Venezuelan citizen Jose Ibarra, having entered the US illegally in 2022. Despite being detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Ibarra was released and later involved in further legal issues before Riley’s death.

Crossover Day At The Georgia Legislature

The bill mandates that jailers and sheriffs report detainees without legal documentation to federal authorities, imposing penalties on local governments that fail to comply through the withdrawal of state or federal funding. This requirement has sparked a divide, with proponents viewing it as a necessary step for public safety, especially in the wake of incidents like Riley’s murder.

State Rep. Jesse Petrea, the bill’s sponsor, emphasized its heightened relevance following the tragedy, marking a significant moment for immigration policy discussions in Georgia.

Critics, however, including Rep. Pedro Marin, the state’s longest-serving Latino legislator, argue against the use of individual crimes to stereotype entire communities, warning that the bill could lead to racial profiling.


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