H -° L 31°
  • cloudy-day
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H -° L 31°
  • clear-day
    Clear. H -° L 31°
  • clear-day
    Mostly Clear. H 56° L 33°

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


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


  • A day after travelers waited nearly 90 minutes in snail-speed security lines at the world's busiest airport, Atlanta's mayor is concerned about the waits that could result when the city hosts the 2019 Super Bowl. The ongoing partial government shutdown is 'uncharted territory' amid planning for one of the world's biggest sporting events, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Tuesday. 'Obviously, we are in uncharted territory with the shutdown that's gone on this long, and we are preparing as best we can from our vantage point,' Bottoms said. The mayor and others at a Tuesday news conference said two years of planning have them well-prepared to protect the public. 'Our goal is for our officers to be visible, for the public to feel safe, be safe, and be able to position ourselves so that we can react immediately to whatever scenario we are confronted with,' Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said. 'I think that with anything you can go in with a spirit of confidence if you have prepared, and we have prepared well.' But the government shutdown is a wild card that arose relatively late in that planning process. 'Certainly there are factors that we don't control such as what's happening with our federal government shutdown and with the long TSA lines,' Bottoms said. 'We are continuing to encourage people to get to the airport very early.' The expected crush of travelers is significantly more than normal. On a typical day, 60,000 to 80,000 passengers are screened at Atlanta's airport before departing, airport statistics show. On Feb. 4, the day Bottoms calls 'Mass Exodus Monday,' about 110,000 passengers are expected to be departing from Atlanta's airport one day after the Super Bowl. The partial government shutdown has meant missed paychecks for Transportation Security Administration screeners at airports nationwide. TSA workers have been calling in sick at a rate that's been twice what it normally is, the agency has said. That's led to a shortage of screeners at some airports across the country. No-shows among screeners jumped Sunday and again Monday. The TSA had a national absence rate of nearly 7 percent Monday, compared to 2.5 percent on a comparable day a year ago, the agency reported Tuesday after getting complete numbers on the absences. A chaotic scene unfolded at Atlanta's airport on Monday, the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck for the first time. Mondays are typically busy for the airport as Atlanta business travelers depart for the work week, and some security lanes went unstaffed as lines backed up. Atlanta passengers led the nation Monday in terms of longest screening delays: The 'maximum standard wait time' was 88 minutes, the TSA reported. Passengers who went through TSA PreCheck — an expedited screening program which is typically faster than regular lines — waited 55 minutes, statistics showed.
  • After a dramatic ending to a sentencing hearing on Monday, Channel 2 Action News has learned former Mayor Kasim Reed’s top aide, Katrina Taylor Parks, made nearly a dozen recordings related to the bribery probe at Atlanta City Hall. As a judge read the sentence against Park on Monday, she passed out and was taken out of court on a stretcher.  In August, Parks pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a city vendor in exchange for city work.  In court, prosecutors reveled parks took $15,000 in cash and gifts over an 18-month period starting in 2013 and lied to FBI about it at least twice. Why experts say those recordings were not enough to keep her out of prison, on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m.
  • Washington state's lieutenant governor declined to preside at Gov. Jay Inslee's State of the State speech Tuesday, saying he was concerned people might bring concealed weapons to the joint session of the Legislature. Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat, noted that the state House of Representatives, where the speech was given, does not have a policy banning concealed weapons, The Daily Herald newspaper of Everett reported . 'There is no specific threat to me. There is no specific threat we know of, period,' Habib said. 'It's about the policy.' The House and Senate ban openly carried weapons in their galleries, and in the Senate, where Habib is the presiding officer; he extended that ban to cover concealed weapons as well. Habib, who is blind, said he was concerned the House policy leaves elected officials vulnerable. Other statewide elected officials, from the nine Washington Supreme Court justices to the commissioner of public lands, attended. In an emailed response, the office of the chief House clerk, Bernard Dean, called Habib's decision regrettable. 'Washington state law is clear: Properly licensed concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry concealed weapons on the state capitol campus, including the galleries,' the statement said. 'Absent any specific security issue, and in accordance with the law, the House kept the galleries open so that the public could see its government in action.' Democratic Rep. John Lovick, of Mill Creek, the speaker pro tem in the House, presided over the joint legislative session for Inslee's speech in Habib's absence. Inslee, who is mulling a possible 2020 Democratic presidential bid, highlighted climate as his top issue in his annual address to lawmakers, who started their 105-day legislative session this week. ___ Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com
  • The White House says Ivanka Trump will take part in the nomination process for a new head of the World Bank. The senior adviser was asked to participate by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin because she has worked with World Bank leaders on a variety of projects. The White House said she is not a contender for the post. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of the World Bank, announced last week that he is resigning. With Kim's exit, President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate his own choice to fill the position. The leaders at the 189-nation World Bank have all been Americans. But other countries have complained about this pattern. Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors.
  • President Donald Trump's pick to become the next attorney general said Tuesday that he would 'not go after' marijuana companies in states where cannabis is legal, even though he personally believes the drug should be outlawed. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, William Barr said he would not use limited government resources to target cannabis businesses that are complying with state laws. Businesses in the marijuana industry relied on Obama-era guidance that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal, but those guidelines were rescinded by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year. Pointing to the growing marijuana industry and investments in cannabis companies, Barr said he didn't want to 'upset settled expectations.' 'To the extent that people are complying with the state laws, distribution and production and so forth, we're not going to go after that,' Barr said. Despite his affirmation that he would not target cannabis businesses, Barr said he would personally support a federal law that 'prohibits marijuana everywhere.' The largely hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement set forth during former President Barack Obama's administration allowed the marijuana industry to flourish into a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar market that helps fund some state government programs. Days after California's broad marijuana legalization went into effect, Sessions rescinded the Justice Department's guidance — known as the Cole Memo — and decried it as allowing a 'safe harbor' for marijuana by allowing states to flout federal law. Since the guidance was rescinded, there has been concern about the future of the growing cannabis industry. Despite medical and so-called recreational cannabis legalization in dozens of states, federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana. But Barr said the current system is 'untenable' and 'almost like a backdoor nullification of federal law.' He called for members of Congress to come up with a way to handle marijuana enforcement across the U.S. 'I think it's incumbent on the Congress to make a decision as to whether we are going to have a federal system,' he said. 'Because this is breeding disrespect for the federal law.' ___ Michael Balsamo is a member of AP's marijuana beat team. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 . Find complete AP marijuana coverage here: www.apnews.com/tag/LegalMarijuana
  • The partial government shutdown continues and many federal workers haven't been paid in weeks, so a local church stepped in to help its members who have been impacted. [READ MORE: Government shutdown becomes longest in U.S. history] Church members at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church were able to raise enough money to give fellow members affected by the government shutdown nearly $300 each in cash. Pastor Jamal Bryant, who joined the church in December, said he felt he and his congregation had a responsibility to help those in need. He said 30 people went to the altar Sunday seeking aide. [READ MORE: Jamal Bryant named as new senior pastor of New Birth] “When the government shuts down is when the church needs to be wide open,” Bryant said. Channel 2's Tom Jones has the full interview with Pastor Bryant on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m. TRENDING STORIES: Police: Officer attacked with own Taser after dangerous suspect resists arrest Former Kasim Reed aide collapses in court as judge sentences her to prison Passengers arrive hours early at Atlanta airport after massive security lines