2018 Georgia Code
Title 17 - Criminal Procedure
Chapter 5 - Searches and Seizures
Article 5 - Immigrants
§ 17-5-100. Investigation of illegal alien status

Universal Citation: GA Code § 17-5-100 (2018)
  • (a) As used in this Code section, the term:

    • (1) "Criminal violation" means a violation of state or federal criminal law but shall not include a violation of a county or municipal law, regulation, or ordinance.

    • (2) "Illegal alien" means a person who is verified by the federal government to be present in the United States in violation of federal immigration law.

  • (b) Except as provided in subsection (f) of this Code section, during any investigation of a criminal suspect by a peace officer, when such officer has probable cause to believe that a suspect has committed a criminal violation, the officer shall be authorized to seek to verify such suspect's immigration status when the suspect is unable to provide one of the following:

    • (1) A secure and verifiable document as defined in Code Section 50-36-2;

    • (2) A valid Georgia driver's license;

    • (3) A valid Georgia identification card issued by the Department of Driver Services;

    • (4) If the entity requires proof of legal presence in the United States before issuance, any valid driver's license from a state or district of the United States or any valid identification document issued by the United States federal government;

    • (5) A document used in compliance with paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-5-21; or

    • (6) Other information as to the suspect's identity that is sufficient to allow the peace officer to independently identify the suspect.

  • (c) When attempting to determine the immigration status of a suspect pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section, a peace officer shall be authorized to use any reasonable means available to determine the immigration status of the suspect, including:

    • (1) Use of any authorized federal identification data base;

    • (2) Identification methods authorized by federal law, including those authorized by 8 U.S.C.A. Section 1373(c) and 8 U.S.C.A. Section 1644;

    • (3) Use of electronic fingerprint readers or similar devices; or

    • (4) Contacting an appropriate federal agency.

  • (d) A peace officer shall not consider race, color, or national origin in implementing the requirements of this Code section except to the extent permitted by the Constitutions of Georgia and of the United States.

  • (e) If during the course of the investigation into such suspect's identity, a peace officer receives verification that such suspect is an illegal alien, then such peace officer may take any action authorized by state and federal law, including, but not limited to, detaining such suspected illegal alien, securely transporting such suspect to any authorized federal or state detention facility, or notifying the United States Department of Homeland Security or successor agency. Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to hinder or prevent a peace officer or law enforcement agency from arresting or detaining any criminal suspect on other criminal charges.

  • (f) No person who in good faith contacts or has contact with a state or local peace officer or prosecuting attorney or member of the staff of a prosecuting attorney for the purpose of acting as a witness to a crime, to report criminal activity, or to seek assistance as a victim to a crime shall have his or her immigration status investigated based on such contact or based on information arising from such contact.

  • (g) A peace officer, prosecuting attorney, or government official or employee, acting in good faith to carry out any provision of this Code section, shall have immunity from damages or liability from such actions.

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