Federal immigration authorities are targeting 1,256 state prisoners convicted of murder, rape and other offenses for possible deportation, documents obtained under Georgia’s Open Records Act show.Of course, $23 million doesn't even represent a drop in the huge correctional bucket of what Georgia spends to incarcerate 55,000 + inmates (a total of $1.17 billion, slightly less than what the state spends on higher ed.) a year.
Georgia doesn't track the immigration status of inmates, so the number of illegal immigrants that are in Georgia prisons is not known. State officials, however, do track those who could face deportation once they are released from prison. That number, which includes both legal and illegal immigrants, was 1,256 this month. And they include a wide range of criminals, including robbers, child molesters and drug dealers, state records show.
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. Using that figure, it costs $22.9 million to imprison 1,256 people annually in Georgia.
But the practical point of deportation is nothing compared to the ideological purpose that it serves.
The author of HB 87 – Republican state Rep. Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City – said the number of ICE detainers now pending for Georgia inmates reflects only part of the problem targeted by the law.
“You have more illegal aliens who are committing crimes and who are cycling in and out of our prisons that don’t have detainers and deportation orders issued on them by the federal government,” he said.
The 1,256 inmates who are the target of immigration detainers in Georgia represent 2 percent of the state’s 55,092 prisoners. In contrast, foreign-born residents make up 9 percent of Georgia’s population, Census records show.
In other words, as usual, the anti-immigration movement is one born of hyperbole, not supported by facts.
Charles Kuck, a local immigration attorney who is fighting in federal court to block parts of HB 87, said those statistics are consistent with studies showing crimes by immigrants "are far below their percentage in the community. More importantly, it shows again that Georgians have been mislead by our politicians when they passed HB 87. It would be nice that in the future the politicians actually looked at facts rather than hyperbole before acting on anti-immigrant legislation."The ideological purpose these laws and rhetoric serve (getting people out to vote) outstrips any reality in terms of practical purpose (getting miniscule amounts of people deported from the state).
Also not mentioned by the "get them illegals" crowd was this fun fact: the Obama administration has deported nearly 400,000 immigrants each year for the past three years, almost 1.1 million to date. By way of contrast, the Bush administration deported a total of 1.5 million immigrants during its entire 8 years in office.
If the current administration has another banner "round 'em up" year in 2012, they could deport more in their first term than Bush did in two terms. Odd that the immigration zealots don't mention all that Obama has done for their cause (of course, "he's not really from here," so there's that).
You can read the article and note the different back and forth, but I found one statistic extremely interesting regarding the nationality of foreign prisoners in Georgia.
Right behind number one Mexico (not surprising), was number two, Germany. The state of Georgia holds 184 Germans in our prisons.
Interesting. Perhaps HB 87 and its racial profiling needs to be amended. Maybe the broad "persons who appear to be here illegally" should also include "persons of Aryan features including, but not limited to, blond or light hair, blue or light eyes, and of a pasty or ghostly complexion."
Hey, wait a minute! Suddenly, I look illegal. Perhaps law enforcement should be trained in sprechen sie deutsch.
"Wie Geht's, Herr Krohn? Wir brauchen ihre erbe. Laß mich sehen deine papiere!"