Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is doing what she can to make a statement against the separation of immigrant families at the United States-Mexico border.
Bottoms signed an executive order on Wednesday to block the city jail from accepting any new detainees from Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“As we work as a nation to end this despicable immigration policy, the city of Atlanta will not take the risk of being complicit in the separation of families at the border,” she said in her statement. “Thus, I have signed an executive order that prohibits the city jail from accepting any new ICE detainees.”
Bottoms does admit that she is concerned that the city’s refusal to accept detainees will result in them being sent to private, for-profit facilities that don’t offer publicly funded access to legal representation. However, she claims that the severity of family separation propels her to act accordingly.
“On behalf of the people of Atlanta, I am calling upon the Trump administration and Congress to enact humane and comprehensive measures that address our broken immigration system,” she said in a statement.
The mayor announced her decision minutes after President Donald Trump signed his own executive order reversing his administration’s controversial policy, keeping families together during their immigration proceedings. It’s unclear how Trump’s decision will impact Bottoms’ order. Atlanta has come under fire in the past from immigrant rights advocates for holding detainees for ICE. On Wednesday, the city jail was already holding 2015 of them and Atlanta is paid $78 per day for each of them, collecting $7.5 million through their arrangement thus far this fiscal year.
Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle posted his disappointment with Atlanta’s move on Twitter, expressing that he intends to outlaw and defund sanctuary cities and intends on upholding the law.