Cagle Prioritizes 2018 Legislation: Deportation of Convicted Illegal Immigrants

September 29, 2017

ATLANTA, Sept. 28, 2017 – Lt. Governor Casey Cagle announced today that he will prioritize legislation in the 2018 session to strengthen efforts to deport illegal immigrants who have committed crimes in Georgia.

“I have led on the principle that illegal immigrants convicted of crimes should serve full sentences in custody – and then be deported by the federal government,” Cagle said. “That’s why I worked to pass the laws we have on the books that require local law enforcement to coordinate with federal officials to deport criminals at the end of their sentences. This legislation builds on the lessons we have learned from current law to ensure that convicted illegal immigrants do not fall through the cracks of the system and re-enter our communities.”

Current federal law only allows for law enforcement or corrections officers to hold an individual on a detainer for 48 hours. The State of Georgia must act to ensure that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are given advanced notification and adequate time to detain illegal immigrants after their sentences are completed. No convicted illegal aliens should ever skirt deportation because of the slow pace of government bureaucracy. 

Cagle’s proposal builds on legislation that he led to pass through the Senate in 2010 and 2016. Current Georgia law outlaws sanctuary cities and directs the State Department of Corrections to proactively notify ICE of inmates who are eligible for release, and Cagle’s proposal will strengthen the law in the following ways:

1. Local law enforcement will fully comply when notified by the federal government of immigration detainers.

2. Local law enforcement – upon receiving an immigration detainer request on the criminal alien defendant – will inform the court of such detainer. After a conviction and as part of sentencing, judges will direct the sheriff or warden with custody to require that inmates serve the final portion of their sentences in federal custody, not to exceed seven days.

3. In addition to leading to help the federal government enforce its laws, Cagle’s proposal will protect local governments complying with these new provisions by utilizing state resources to defend any action brought against our local governments for good faith compliance. The state will then be able to protect local entities that follow the law from the hogwash lawsuits that are spun up by obstructionist groups, which dislike law and order. 

When Texas enacted a similar law, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the state had “admirably followed [President Trump's] lead by mandating state-wide cooperation with federal immigration laws that require the removal of illegal aliens who have committed crimes.”

“The Department of Justice fully supports Texas's effort … because of the strong federal interest in facilitating the state and local cooperation that is critical in enforcing our nation's immigration laws," Sessions said in June.