State Rep. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah, introduced House Bill 452 this week with an impressive list of co-sponsors including former Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, now Republican state Rep. Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon. Petrea’s bill would require the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to share information it receives from the federal government on the release from federal custody of criminal aliens with Georgia sheriffs and to post it online.
In part, HB 452 reads “to the extent permitted by federal law, the bureau (GBI) shall post on its public website the names of persons who are aliens; who have been arrested, booked, detained, incarcerated, or convicted during immigration and criminal law enforcement investigations; and who have been released from federal custody within the boundaries of this state…”
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According to federal records - and the AJC - among the criminal aliens released from immigration detention since 2011, there are some 10,731 convictions for assault; 890 for sexual assault, including rape; 473 for homicide-related offenses; and 375 for kidnapping.
“This bill is about transparency. The people have a right to know when criminal aliens are released back into our communities. That information is not now available to them” says Petrea. “The people can form their own opinions based on the data made available to them. My goal is to make the information available.”
The Center for Immigration Studies in Washington D.C. released a report last year “Free to Kill: 124 Criminal Aliens Released By Obama Policies Charged with Homicide Since 2010” outlining information on some of the criminal aliens who have been released by the agency since 2010. ICE provided data on aliens who were charged with homicides after being released and aliens who were released multiple times by ICE.
“The criminal aliens released by ICE in these years — who had already been convicted of thousands of crimes — are responsible for a significant crime spree in American communities, including 124 aliens charged with 135 new homicides” reports Jessica Vaughan of CIS.
Rep. Petrea’s bill has been assigned to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
The bill must clear the full House before March 3 to have a chance to pass into law this year. Many Georgians supportive of the Petrea’s legislation have already contacted the Public Safety Committee Chairman, Rep. Alan Powell, who is a co-sponsor of the bill.