ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
82°
Mostly Clear
H -° L 70°
  • clear-night
    82°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Clear. H -° L 70°
  • clear-day
    Today
    Mostly Clear. H -° L 70°
  • clear-day
    94°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 94° L 71°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Illegal immigration a focus of Georgia GOP governor's race

ATLANTA (AP) - During a recent Georgia GOP gubernatorial forum, moderators never brought up the topic of illegal immigration, but that didn't stop Secretary of State Brian Kemp from referring to "criminal illegal aliens" four times while on stage.

"These people are killing our children, either with drugs or with guns or with deadly assaults," Kemp said during the March 10 gathering in Norcross. "It's time that we put a stop to that."

Kemp, whose first TV ad of the campaign begins with him invoking the names of Americans killed by people living in the country illegally, is hardly alone in highlighting the issue.

As seven Republicans jockey for their party's nomination, illegal immigration is one thing that the leading candidates largely agree on: Georgia may have some of the toughest laws targeting illegal immigration in the country, but it needs to do more, they say. Critics, however, argue that deportation is a federal issue, and tougher laws create an environment in which immigrants are hesitant to report crimes.

Immigration attorneys also question the efficacy of some of the proposals, calling them poorly sketched-out ideas that overlook the complexity of immigration law in an attempt to rile up support from primary voters.

"The current political environment has allowed for the demonization of the immigrant community as a whole," said Tracie Klinke, chair of the Georgia-Alabama chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "That's unfortunate because it just creates this atmosphere of fear, which motivates people to vote."

State Sen. Michael Williams of Cumming wants every Georgia county to join with the six sheriff's offices in the state that have adopted a program that trains and authorizes local officers to carry out immigration enforcement duties. Currently, 75 law enforcement agencies in 20 states have adopted the program, but no state mandates it.

In March, Kemp unveiled his own proposal to establish a state database that would track crimes committed by people living in the country illegally. He said Texas already has a similar database.

By documenting suspects' arrest records, physical markings and gang affiliations in one comprehensive database that's shared with federal authorities, investigators would be better equipped to uncover gang networks and deport criminals, Kemp said.

Clay Tippins has also made fighting gangs a key part of his platform. Gangs such as MS-13 commit murders, operate human trafficking rings and smuggle deadly narcotics into Georgia, Tippins said.

John King is police chief in Doraville, a city just outside of Atlanta with a large immigrant population. King says gangs are a concern in his community, but they often consist of second- or third-generation Americans.

"The first-generation immigrants are too busy working at construction sites and restaurants - they're too tired to be committing crimes," King said. "The typical 'gang-banger' that we bump into is a U.S. citizen. I wish we could deport them, but we can't."

Kemp also wants to require, rather than merely allow, local authorities to transport suspects living in the country illegally to federal deportation centers. That notion concerns King, though, who says he has a good relationship with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"When ICE wants somebody, they come and pick them up," King said. "If transporting these folks keeps my officers from answering 911 calls in my community, I'm not sure our citizens would want to be financing that."

Immigration attorney Charles Kuck said Kemp's proposed transportation requirement ignores the fact that the detention centers have a set budget and a limited number of beds.

Kemp acknowledges that some of the plan's details must be worked out with federal immigration authorities, but said he's sincere about combatting crime and he takes criticism from immigration advocates as a badge of honor.

Most of Kemp's rivals agree with his proposals - they just think they're better suited to carry them out.

Tippins, a businessman and former Navy SEAL, argues that his experience tracking ISIS makes him uniquely qualified to take down criminal networks.

The Georgia legislature has passed several laws in recent years aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Among them is a measure to target so-called sanctuary policies.

The state may not have any self-proclaimed "sanctuary cities," but multiple candidates assert that the metro Atlanta city of Decatur and other communities have adopted illegal sanctuary laws.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is among the front-runners to succeed term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal. Last year Cagle filed a complaint against Decatur with the Immigration Enforcement Review Board, arguing that the city's officers are violating the state's anti-sanctuary law by not detaining immigrants unless ICE issues a warrant. The city says its longstanding policy doesn't break the law, and the review board hasn't yet issued a ruling on the issue.

Cagle said his experience going after Decatur separates him from the pack.

"Others can talk about (holding these communities responsible), but there's only one person who has acted on it," he said.

Like Tippins, ex-state Sen. Hunter Hill, a former Army Ranger, also points to his experience in the military. Hill said he took an oath to defend the Constitution as a soldier and will protect the rule of law as governor.

"We're just trying to make sure that our laws are upheld, our borders are secure, our people are protected," Hill said. "It's not rocket science."

Read More

News

  • In the Book of Genesis, Noah’s ark survived a flood in the Middle East. A replica of the biblical boat was not as lucky, and its owners are suing -- for damages caused by heavy rains in northern Kentucky. >> Read more trending news  The owners of Ark Encounter are suing their five insurance carriers for refusing to cover nearly $1 million in damages after flooding in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road, the Louisville Courier Journal reported. In a 77-page lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Kentucky, Crosswater Canyon Inc. and the Ark Encounter sued the business’ insurance underwriters, WLWT reported. The ark’s owners are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, the Courier Journal reported. The ark, located in Williamstown, was not damaged.  According to the lawsuit, 'A significant landslide occurred along portions of the slope,” which caused “significant damage” to the road surface, making portions of the road “unsafe and unfit for use.” The road was fixed by engineers at a cost of $1 million, WLEX reported. But when the Ark Encounter asked its insurance underwriters to cover the cost of repairs, they were rebuffed, the television station reported. The Allied World Assurance Co. is named as a defendant, along with three other carriers, according to The Washington Post. Initially, the suit alleges, defendants cited faulty craftsmanship as the reason for the property damage and claimed they were not liable, WLEX reported. After an appeal, the defendants admitted that only a small amount was covered by the policy. The Ark Encounter, built at a cost of $120 million, opened in July 2016 with a zoo, zip lines and a restaurant in addition to the five-story replica of the ark, the Post reported. It was founded by Ken Ham and his ministry, Answers in Genesis, the newspaper reported. Ark Encounter spokeswoman Melany Ethridge distributed a statement that said “the lawsuit speaks for itself,” noting the park remained open. 'You got to get to the boat to be on the boat,' Ethridge told the Courier Journal.
  • Amanda Eller, who went missing more than two weeks ago in Maui has reportedly been found alive according to KHNL in Hawaii. >> Read more trending news The the 35-year-old woman was spotted by a helicopter in a wooded area sources told KHNL. Eller hadn’t been seen since May 8, when she disappeared after a hike in a Maui Forest Reserve, known for its steep and rugged terrain. Her vehicle was found with her cellphone and wallet inside in a parking lot at the reserve. WSOC-TV confirmed the news with Eller's aunt, Lynn Eller Ansley, by phone Friday night. Ansley is one of several relatives who live in North Carolina. Eller’s parents had offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to her safe return. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Officers found snakes, alligators and talking birds inside a Marion, Arkansas, home. >> Read more trending news William Hale, 47, is charged with 60 counts of aggravated animal cruelty after investigators found the exotic animals inside his home. One neighbor took pictures of the snakes he saw investigators taking out of the home. WHBQ-TV received a tip yesterday from a source who said the conditions were so unbearable that even the hazmat team could not handle it. He said the birds they found in that home were having full conversations with the investigators. “Tropical birds, I seen a parrot. Actually he had, like, seven of those, different type of birds, and I seen, like, 30 snakes,” Terrence Blackburn, a neighbor, said. “The bulldog was one of the first animals to come out, and there were five of those. I seen a poodle,” Blackburn said. Yellow caution tape surrounds the home. “I seen the alligator, which they had, it was a small baby alligator and I heard it was like nine of them,” Blackburn said. Investigators with the Marion Police Department told WHBQ-TV Animal Control officers responded to the home after complaints about barking dogs. “And you had no idea this was going on, no idea,” Blackburn said. Hale was not home at the time. He did not show up after officers spoke with him over the phone requesting his return. According to officers, that is when they conducted a search warrant and found several exotic animals that were not being properly cared for. “I would let him know that was kind of wrong. You know, we have kids over here, and them are dangerous animals,” Blackburn said. A source gave confirmation that there were several alligators inside that home yesterday.
  • Officials at Muskogee War Memorial Park said the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and the National Guard took over the site Friday due to severe flooding. >> Read more trending news The park is home to the USS Batfish, a World War II-era submarine that now serves as a museum. Park staff and volunteers are being used to support emergency officials in managing the scene. Officials said at least one line on the Batfish has broken and they are working to keep it from floating away. Crews are filling the ballast tanks on board the USS Batfish to keep it inside the park's bowl. The National Guard also tied a new line to the boat to add leverage. Those interested in helping support the memorial and any potential repair costs can visit this link for more information.
  • A Walt Disney World employee from Clermont, Florida, was arrested on charges of trying to have sex with an 8-year-old girl. >> Read more trending news Investigators said Frederick Pohl Jr., 40, thought he was chatting with the father of the victim, but he was chatting with an undercover agent. The two arranged to meet at an Orlando hotel Tuesday and that's where Pohl was arrested. Investigators said Pohl was in possession of condoms and a child-sized pink dress. Authorities said Pohl was charged with transferring obscene materials to a minor and attempting to entice a minor. If convicted, Pohl faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. Disney said Pohl was placed on unpaid leave of absence.
  • A Gwinnett County, Georgia, police K-9 died Thursday after pursuing a man in 90-degree heat, authorities said. >> Read more trending news Eli, a 9-year-old police dog, had been tracking a man in Grayson, Georgia, for about 30 minutes when he began to show signs of distress believed to be related to the heat, Gwinnett police said in a news release. Eli and his handler, Officer Matthew Bonanno, were assisting Snellville police in a pursuit after a man fled from officers near North Crestview Drive and Grayson Parkway, police said. After showing signs of distress, the dog was removed from the chase, according to police. As Eli and officers walked back to their patrol vehicles, the dog fell to the ground and began to act abnormally, police said.  In an effort to cool him down, officers covered Eli’s body with water. He was taken to a nearby veterinarian for treatment, where he stopped breathing. Vets performed CPR for about 30 minutes before he was pronounced dead just before 5 p.m. “We mourn the loss of this courageous K-9 and will provide more details at a later time,” Gwinnett police said, calling the situation tragic. “Please keep Officer Bonnano and his family in your thoughts.” Eli had been with the department for eight years. His body was taken to the University of Georgia, where a necropsy is being conducted to determine a cause of death, Gwinnett police said Friday. Snellville police said the pursuit began when a woman called 911 to report that her ex-boyfriend was following her in his car. At one point, the man reportedly struck the woman from behind in traffic, authorities said. The altercation began on U.S. 78 in DeKalb County before continuing into Gwinnett, police said. Snellville officers pursued the man into a neighborhood, where he abandoned his vehicle and ran away, prompting officers to call for a K-9. The man, whose name was not released, has still not been found.