Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Thursday ripped President Donald Trump's zero tolerance policy as "ridiculous" in explaining why she barred local jails from housing new detainees brought in by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
"We would somehow unknowingly become complicit in this policy to separate families," Bottoms, a Democrat who was elected as the city's first African-American female mayor in November, told Brooke Baldwin on CNN. "It is inhumane.
"As a mother of four, I wanted to really be able to look my children in the eyes and be able to say that we in the city of Atlanta did what we could to bring attention to this issue and also to take meaningful action."
Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the practice of separating illegal immigrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border.
First lady Melania Trump visited a detention center for detained children in McAllen, Texas, on Thursday.
Bottoms told Baldwin that Atlanta jails currently house 200 ICE detainees.
"We have had a long-standing agreement with the U.S. Marshal's Office to hold ICE detainees in our facilities," she said, adding that she remained concerned about detainees being taken to centers outside the Atlanta area having quality access to legal services.
"If they are sent to other facilities throughout the state, they will not receive the legal attention and have access and proximity to their families in the way that they do in metro Atlanta."
Bottoms also ripped President Trump's zero tolerance policy on illegal immigration.
"That is ridiculous," she said. "There is no link between our crime issue in this country and immigration.
"Those are two separate issues. These are people who are seeking a better life.
"As an inclusive city, Atlanta has always been the example of what it means to do things that are challenging to make a difference," Bottoms said.
"We made a difference in the world with the civil rights movement — and as we look at where we are in this moment in time, as local leaders, we have a responsibility to continue to make a difference."
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