Today, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called a press conference regarding the executive order she signed yesterday that announced the City of Atlanta will no longer accept children of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees currently at the United States-Mexico Border until the city receives documented assurance that the Trump Administration’s policy of separating parents from their children at all points-of-entry has ceased.
“My concern quite frankly is that we would become inadvertently complicit in the President’s policy,” Bottoms said. “I can tell you this was not a decision I made lightly, we gathered as a team yesterday and talked through the pros and cons of making a decision on this.
“The biggest concern that I have had is my understanding that there are three facilities in the state of Georgia that detainees are held if they are picked up on alleged violations,” she continued. “One is the Atlanta Detention Center and two others that are for-profit centers with less than desirable conditions that do not provide access to the resources that we offer at the City of Atlanta.”
According to the executive order, the City of Atlanta does have a long-standing agreement with the U.S. Marshall’s Office to house ICE detainees. However, Bottoms believes this action prevented the City from being complicit in President Trump’s policy.
Trump also has punished sanctuary cities, cities that limit their cooperation with the federal government’s immigration laws. When asked whether Atlanta will become a sanctuary city, Bottoms said the current state laws prevent Atlanta from becoming a sanctuary city. However, the resources provided to individuals that seek to provide a pathway toward citizenship designates Atlanta as a “Welcoming City”.
“I am not concerned, but I am aware there may be a penalty imposed,” Bottoms said. “But as we look at Atlanta historically and the decisions that have allowed Atlanta to be Atlanta today, whether it be tough decisions from the civil rights movement, as a people, these things that have separated us as a city and as a people. This is a moment in time that as a city we must be prepared for whatever may come our way. I think history will judge us fairly on this.”
Mayor Bottoms’s executive order will be in effect at least through the next city council meeting, July 2.