Decatur says Lt. Governor's claim over sanctuary cities left city blindsided

  • Carl Willis
  • Local | WSBTV
11:03 p.m Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 Local

A message from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle left leaders at the Decatur City Hall stunned Monday. Cagle said Decatur may be in direct violation of the law, which prohibits sanctuary cities. 

Cagle told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie in an exclusive interview Monday the he sent a stern letter to the state auditor saying Decatur was not cooperating with ICE and Homeland Security. 

Because of the claim, Decatur could be in jeopardy of losing state and federal funding. 

"I don't know where the misunderstanding came from," Decatur Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon told Channel 2’s Carl Wills. 

Saxon said Decatur city leaders are now trying to understand what lead Cagle to say due "recent information" Decatur appears to be in direct violation of the state's sanctuary city statute and immigration reporting.


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"The message in Georgia is we are not going to tolerate sanctuary cities. We have been very clear about that. It is the state law and those criminal illegal aliens should be deported from our state upon conviction," Cagle said. 

But Saxon insists the city is in compliance with state law. The city attorney sent a letter to the state auditor as well, explaining that their policy simply calls for a judicially approved warrant before a person is detained.

"(That) complies with the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Saxon told Willis. "That's been our policy for over 10 years."

Cagle believes Decatur's policy keeps them from working with ICE.

But the city attorney explains that the policy doesn't even address, much less restrict, communication with federal authorities

Still, Cagle has already called on the state auditor to review the policy, threatening to cut off state and federal funding.

"We take these sort of responsibilities seriously. And try to enforce the laws as we understand them," Cagle said. 

Saxon believes this will be cleared up and told Willis they were blindsided by the claims.

"When things like this happen we appreciate somebody contacting us directly," Saxon told Willis. 

“That didn't happen?” Willis asked.

"I don't believe so," Saxon said. 

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