Georgia mayor praised sanctuary policy, was concerned with backlash after Laken Riley murder: e-mails

 March 27, 2024

Two days after the murder of Laken Riley, the mayor of Athens, Georgia praised sanctuary policies that he publicly insists are not in effect, according to damning e-mails. 

The exchange between mayor Kelly Girtz, a Democrat, and Clarke County Sheriff John Q. Williams - obtained by Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) - shows the two were principally concerned with public backlash over Riley's murder, rather than accepting accountability.

Mayor's emails exposed

The contents of the e-mails are not a complete shock given manipulative public statements from Girtz, who gushed with fake empathy at a press conference where he claimed Athens was not a sanctuary city.

“Trauma affects us all,” he added. “And I understand in the wake of a great tragedy like this, we are all deeply hurt and everybody expresses their hurt differently.”

In his private e-mails, Girtz made a similar use of platitudes to avoid confronting the issue, telling Williams he was focused on "comfort" and "unity."

The e-mails, however, suggest the city leaders were primarily concerned with their own "comfort" and self-preservation.

Williams lamented that he was being blamed for the actions of his predecessor, Ira Edwards, who made it a policy not to honor ICE detainers without a warrant for another crime. Sheriff Williams asked the mayor to clear up whether or not Athens is a sanctuary city and say so publicly.

The mayor responded with liberal obfuscation and mush about "unity," first telling Williams that there is no single definition of a "sanctuary city."


Girtz went on to showcase the mind of a complete ideologue, sharing his belief in the "humane" approach to immigration enforcement, which Girtz justified on the contentious basis that migrants commit less crime than American citizens.

“I support the detainer policy as one that is both humane and following the well-documented propensity of immigrants in the U.S. to be less criminally inclined than the native-born population," he said. Girtz criticized the practice of detaining "undocumented persons who have not committed an offense for which no legal resident would be held, simply because a person is undocumented [emphasis added.]"

Clearly, Girtz is not prioritizing his own residents, who he has chosen to sacrifice for the sake of his insane liberal agenda.

Sheriff Williams isn't in the clear, either: he campaigned against arresting illegal immigrants, saying he didn't want to contribute to a "culture of fear."

The people of Athens were let down by their leaders, but the failure goes all the way up to the White House.

Biden can't even say that Riley's killer was an illegal immigrant - but mayor Girtz would call that "humane."

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