ATLANTA – Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an executive order on Wednesday prohibiting the jail from accepting any new ICE detainees.
“I, like many others, have been horrified watching the impact of President Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy on children and families," Bottoms said. "My personal angst has been compounded by the city’s long-standing agreement with the U. S. Marshall’s Office to house ICE detainees in our city jail.
"While this arrangement may seem hypocritical to my personal stance, the reality of the detention of those seeking legal status in our country is most often not if they are detained, but where they will be held. As we work as a nation to end this despicable immigration policy, the city will not take the risk of being complicit in the separation of families at the border."
On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order ending the process of separating children from families after they are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally.
The news in recent days has been dominated by searing images of children held in cages at border facilities, as well as audio recordings of young children crying for their parents — images that have sparked fury, question of morality and concern from Republicans about a negative impact on their races in November's midterm elections.
"We're going to have strong, very strong borders, but we're going to keep the families together," said Trump who said he didn't like the "sight" or "feeling" of children separated from their parents.
He said his order would not end the "zero-tolerance" policy that criminally prosecutes all adults caught crossing the border illegally. The order aims to keep families together while they are in custody, expedite their cases, and ask the Department of Defense to help house families.
Meanwhile, current Lt. Governor of Georgia Casey Cagle and Republican candidate for governor chimed in, tweeting directly to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms he has led the charge to "outlaw and defund sanctuary cities and WE WILL uphold our laws."
Also on Wednesday, Georgia's largest employer commended Trump for his actions.
“Delta’s mission is to connect people and we are against anything that runs contrary to that mission," the Atlanta-based airline said. "Recent reports of families being separated are disheartening and do not align with Delta’s core values. We applaud the administration’s executive order resolving the issue of separating children from their families at the U.S. border.”
“I am concerned the city’s refusal to accept detainees will result in individuals being sent to private, substandard, for-profit facilities in the state, as these facilities do not offer publicly funded access to legal representation that may help detainees successfully challenge their immigration status, but the inhumane action of family separation demands that Atlanta act now," Mayor Bottoms said.