More than 1,200 state prisoners are being targeted by federal immigration authorities for possible deportation due to their strain on Georgia’s prisons and other taxpayer-funded resources.
Documents attained under Georgia’s Open Records Act show that state prisoners convicted of murder, rape, and other offenses are under review.
Since Georgia doesn’t track the immigration status of inmates, the number of illegal immigrants in the prisons are unknown, however, once the inmates are released, state officials track those who could face deportation.
Federal immigration officials have issued detainers for both legal and illegal immigrants totaling 1,256 this month. Before prisoners are released, officials have asked for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be notified and held up to 48 hours or more, enabling the ICE time to possibly take them into custody for possible deportation.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that on average, it costs $50.17 to hold each inmate per day in a Georgia prison, including state and federal taxpayer dollars, prisoner fees and other funding sources, public records show. As a result, housing inmates facing deportation is costing the state about $23 million annually.
State records show the prisoners who are the focus of ICE detainers are among more than 2,500 inmates who claim to have been born in or are citizens of other countries. More than 1,300 of these inmates were born in or are citizens of Mexico.