Atlanta Mayor Signs Executive Order Barring ICE Detainees from City Jail


In the latest move designed to thwart deportation of illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, the mayor of Atlanta signed an executive order barring Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees from the city’s jail.

“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,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a Thursday statement, according to Fox News.

“I do not make this decision lightly, or without concern as to the impact on these individuals,” the statement continued.

“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.”

The ICE detainees that the city was accepting — WAGA-TV reports that they began holding them as part of an agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service in March of 2010 — weren’t being “jailed solely because they seek the American Dream,” unless their version of seeking the American Dream closely resembled Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-fueled method of doing so in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

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I don’t remember seeking the American Dream ever being counted as a crime in any locale, much less Atlanta, but I suppose “no one should be jailed solely because they violated the law” doesn’t exactly have the same resonance with voters and/or the national media.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this move was likely in the making for a while. There were 205 detainees in the city’s jail back in June, which has been reduced to only five at present.

ICE confirmed that the five detainees would be moved out by the end of Thursday.

Do you think this was a bad decision?

It’s not terribly clear what, if anything, Mayor Bottoms thinks she was accomplishing by Thursday’s order aside from the fact that she got a lot of news coverage. But what does that news coverage really say about her and those who support her decision?

What it says is that the law doesn’t really matter. Immigration law (and its intersection with other laws) is irrelevant so long as there’s a political point to be made.

Government contracts to house ICE detainees are only a good thing if there’s a Democrat in the White House. After all, this was signed back in 2010, when Mayor Bottoms was a member of the Atlanta City Council. It’s not like she’s been working for this for eight years.

Finally, Bottoms is pretty much prepared to get behind whatever witless movement the left is currently pushing on immigration. Later in the executive order, it’s mentioned that “the Mayor announced that the City of Atlanta has filed an amicus brief along with other U.S. cities to protect Americans who have Temporary Protective Status (TPS) from deportation. This will assist 12,000 Georgians who are from El Salvador, Sudan, Haiti, and other affected countries.”

What remains unmentioned is that these “Temporary Protective Status(es)” were removed after being in place for years — in some cases, decades — after the humanitarian crises that allowed the individuals to stay in the United States under TPS. The program was designed to be temporary, after all; it’s in the name.

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This is someone who wanted news coverage. She got it. What she fails to realize is that the subtext behind all of this news coverage is that she isn’t too keen on the rule of law. One hopes voters in Atlanta realize that — or, if they don’t, voters in Georgia do and make sure that her political career never escapes the orbit of local politics.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture