Mayor signs order addressing immigration policy

Photo: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order on Wednesday, June 20 that openly calls upon the Trump Administration to reform the United States’ “despicable” immigration policy. The order further prohibits the City of Atlanta Detention Center from holding any new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees.

The detainees were being held at the center as part of an agreement between the City of Atlanta and the United States Marshal’s Office.

Bottoms said she would not allow the City of Atlanta to be complicit in the “separation of families at the border.”

“My personal angst has been compounded by the City of Atlanta’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,” Bottoms said in a press release.

Mayor Bottoms also said she is concerned that the detainees will now be held in worse locations than before but that Atlanta must take an immediate stance on the situation.

“I am concerned that 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,” she said.

The order states that the detention center will not accept any new ICE detainees “until the City of Atlanta receives assurance that the policy of the Trump Administration of separating immigrant children from their parents at the United States/Mexico border and other ports of entry has been rescinded and all such separations have ceased.”

Just one hour after Bottoms’ press release, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending his administration’s zero-tolerance policy on families entering the United States unlawfully. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” said Trump during his signing of the order. Trump had previously shirked responsibility for the policy, instead urging Democrats to change the law. “If the Democrats would sit down instead of obstructing, we could have something done very quickly,” said Trump.

The Signal has reached out to the Mayor’s Office for further comment and will update this story as soon as possible.

Daniel Varitek contributed to this story.