Welcomed, Yet Not Welcome: Exploring Georgia’s Role in Immigration Enforcement and Detention

Executive Summary

Georgia’s immigrants enhance Georgia’s social fabric through linguistic and cultural diversity and meet the state’s growing demand for entrepreneurial business acumen through an ability to navigate complex social dynamics and generate outside-the-box, globally minded business strategies. Immigrants are also an essential part of the state’s workforce, occupying C-suite positions in Fortune 500 companies and skilled labor positions where they help build infrastructure from bridges to skyscrapers.

Despite this, Georgia has the third-largest detained immigrant population in the country. This ranking signifies large-scale community harm and contributes to the state’s position globally as a top jurisdiction for the number of individuals behind bars or on probation or parole. Georgia’s practice of welcoming immigrant workers and later incarcerating them is interwoven with the state’s history of funding prisons to incarcerate individuals of color while foregoing equitable state investments that sustain families. This phenomenon perpetuates a cycle of local reliance on unstable revenue sources.

Multiple local jurisdictions in Georgia continue to support 287(g), a program that enables state and local law administrators to enforce immigration laws on behalf of the federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).[1] Georgia’s use of 287(g) has exacerbated harms for immigrants. The continued use of 287(g) reflects how immigration enforcement intensified at the turn of the century after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Many states, including Georgia, passed anti-immigration legislation in response, and reliance on state and local enforcement increased through partnerships with ICE.

Ultimately, the 287(g) program serves as an on-ramp to immigrant incarceration, with private prison companies incentivizing rural Georgia localities to accept immigration detention centers in exchange for the promise of local jobs and economic benefit, which often fail to coalesce. Georgia’s largest immigration detention center is in Stewart County, the county with the third highest poverty rate, and recent reports of abuse of detainees should give pause to localities who might consider opening an immigrant detention center.

To help protect Georgia’s immigrants from further harm and reduce local incentives to open immigration detention centers, state lawmakers should:

  • Invest in Georgia’s rural communities to reduce dependence on the private prison industry.
  • Provide rural Georgians with the support they need to reject low-quality private prison jobs.
  • Pass and implement equitable health care access measures that support the immigrant community.
  • Enhance language access across state government to boost mixed-immigrant-status families’ access to public benefits and other critical services.
  • Oppose anti-immigrant measures that villainize the immigrant community and contribute to a narrative that supports expanding the detention of Georgia immigrants.
  • End profit-driven practices that entangle immigrants in the criminal legal system by eliminating revenue-based performance goals for law enforcement and judges.
  • Grant immigrant communities the tools to feed their families and avoid deportations, such as access to Drivers Licenses or Driver’s Privilege Cards.


The ancient practice of migration has allowed people to roam the Earth for millennia. In recent centuries, the modern “nation-state” emerged as a real and aspirational way of governing fixed territories.[2] As a result, governments across the globe, including the United States government, have increasingly tried to control migration options despite people’s reasons for moving—like survival. These enforcements, often influenced by anti-immigrant rhetoric, have manifested themselves as a patchwork of policies that perpetuate the harmful narrative of the “good” and “bad” immigrant. Ultimately, these narratives impact how people arrive in this country and how they are treated during and after arrival.[3]

It is important to acknowledge the historical and ongoing impact of immigration policies in the U.S. States like Georgia have passed extensive policies to regulate immigration despite the federal government’s authority to set priorities in immigration enforcement.[4] In the last 20 years, the Georgia legislature has passed numerous laws that create an unwelcoming environment for immigrants.[5] Georgia has also housed four immigration detention centers and was ranked third in the nation for the number of people held in Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) detention for the fiscal year 2023.[6] The state’s use of 287(g) has led to the deportation of many immigrants through local police cooperation with ICE, exacerbating abuses faced by communities of color.[7]

Georgia’s immigration enforcement and detention reflects the state’s broader system of state-funded correctional control, which includes those in prisons and jails and on probation and parole. Georgia’s incarceration rate is 2.5 times higher than the national average, and it is a top jurisdiction worldwide for the number of individuals under correctional control.[8] [9] The system also reflects a broader trend of local reliance on the prison industry to help supply local jobs in rural areas that struggle with poverty.[10] [11]

Despite this history, there seems to be progress on the horizon. Some counties are reversing their stance on 287(g), which might eventually encourage the state of Georgia to get out of the immigration detention business entirely.[12] With that goal in mind, this report explores the history and changes in immigration enforcement and detention in Georgia and offers policy recommendations to create a more welcoming state.

Georgia’s Evolving Immigrant Population and Workforce

Georgia’s immigrant population has continuously evolved, often shaped by human trafficking, forced labor, genocide, land expropriation and white supremacy.

In 1526, people were forcibly taken from Africa and enslaved in what would become Georgia, setting up an abusive system of chattel slavery in which Black individuals were considered legal property until 1865. The 1830 Indian Removal Act authorized European whites to expel and resettle Georgia’s Native Americans west of the Mississippi River. In the 1860s, following the Civil War, Chinese workers were hired by white plantation owners in Georgia to harvest crops for low wages, replacing formerly enslaved Black people.[13] Georgia also saw an influx in Cuban migration during the late 1960s and early 1970s and then Mexican migration due to the need for agricultural workers.[14] In the years following, immigrant enclaves started to grow, with Latin American immigrants settling in places like Hall County and the City of Dalton, where the poultry and carpet industries kept many employed.[15]

The Atlanta metro area experienced a growing immigrant population due to the booming construction industry. This trend continued, especially leading up to the 1996 Olympics when many immigrants helped construct and ready Atlanta to host on the world stage.[16] It was immigrants who paved the way for Georgia to become the state known today.

Up to this point, immigration enforcement— at the federal and state levels—had been virtually nonexistent, with immigration officials and industries reportedly encouraging undocumented laborers to come to Georgia.[17] Many undocumented immigrants came and worked; some left, but others stayed and built families and communities free of the shadow of detention and deportation. Unfortunately, that freedom of movement soon changed.

Post-9/11 Immigration Enforcement

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, nationwide immigration enforcement intensified, with each presidential administration exercising its discretion over enforcement priorities but continuing a general trend of increased deportations and detention.

In 2002, the U.S. government established the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enhance national preparedness and response to potential future attacks.[18] ICE was subsequently established under the aegis of DHS. ICE effectively replaced the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the U.S. Customs Service (USCS). As a result, the government’s immigration enforcement and investigative functions were combined into one agency.[19] [20] Since its inception, ICE’s primary mission has been to find, detain and deport immigrants under the guise of protecting the “homeland.”

There was a shift towards increased interior enforcement particularly in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.[21] Law enforcement agencies predominantly relied on the 287(g) program and cooperation with state and local governments to identify and apprehend undocumented immigrants. Consequently, any interaction with law enforcement could lead to potential deportation. Law enforcement officials implemented different models of the 287(g) program in places around the country. Arizona administered a task force model where law enforcement could interrogate anyone suspected of being undocumented. This action led to numerous racial profiling cases and a class action lawsuit.[22]

The chart below illustrates general Georgia immigrant population trends throughout the post-9/11 immigration enforcement era.

Bar graph showing immigrant population growth from 2000 to 2020

Despite a significant shift in federal-level enforcement after 9/11, states, including Georgia, played a key and expanding role in the detention and removal of immigrants. ICE’s reliance on state and local governments to enforce immigration laws often led states to pass anti-immigrant legislation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the number of immigrant-related bills introduced nationwide surged from 300 in 2005 to 1,562 by 2007, indicating states’ increasing involvement in immigration matters.[23]

Georgia’s Shifting State Policies and Echoes of Historical Racism

In 2006, Georgia saw its first major anti-immigrant bill, SB 529, The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act. This legislation was signed into law requiring individuals seeking employment or public benefits to provide proof of legal status. The law also required law enforcement professionals who jailed an individual for a felony or for driving under the influence to verify their legal status.[24]

Building on the anti-immigrant sentiment that drove SB 529, Georgia passed HB 87, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011. This controversial bill, modeled after a bill passed in Arizona, doubled down on using E-Verify. This legislation emboldened local law enforcement to ask those whom they pulled over or encountered in the course of their duties about immigration status and punished individuals who knowingly transported and harbored undocumented immigrants.[25] In the years following, Georgia would go beyond SB 529 and HB 87, passing legislation restricting access to driver’s licenses,[26] postsecondary education, employment and more, making it difficult to pass any future legislation promoting the well-being and livelihood of immigrants.[27]

Anti-immigrant sentiments following 9/11 led to an increase in legislation aimed at limiting immigration in Georgia.[28] During public comments surrounding the passage of HB 87, it became evident that state laws aimed at limiting immigration can indirectly create racial divisions by highlighting the exclusion or inclusion of individuals based on their ancestry or nationality, even if the legislation does not explicitly mention race. In the case of HB 87, much of the surrounding commentary was perceived to be anti-Latinx, underscoring racialized aspects of Georgia’s undocumented population, such as whether undocumented individuals were Spanish-speaking or Mexican nationals.[29]

Certain Georgia counties became known at the local level for using the 287(g) program. Gwinnett and Cobb Counties, with Georgia’s largest Latinx populations, ranked among the top jurisdictions in deportations due to the program.[30] [31] [32] At one point, Gwinnett County alone accounted for one-fifth of all 287(g) encounters in the entire country, leading the way in notifying ICE about undocumented immigrants held in Gwinnett’s custody.[33] However, in 2021, with the election of two new sheriffs, Gwinnett and Cobb stopped their participation in the 287(g) program. Both sheriffs, responding to pressure from immigrant advocates, businesses and faith leaders, stated that the 287(g) program deterred immigrants who were victims of crime from reporting the crime to law enforcement, and the program does nothing to promote a relationship between the community and law enforcement.[34] By dismantling the program in these two counties, the number of Georgians being detained declined.[35] However, even with two key players pulling out of the program, Georgia refuses to get out of the immigration detention business. Five counties plus the Georgia Department of Corrections currently have active 287(g) agreements.[36]

Even when Georgia passes anti-immigrant legislation, the immigrant population continues to increase overall as Georgia’s industries, such as the construction and service industries, employ undocumented individuals. It is also true that anti-immigrant state-level legislation can cause a drop in specific categories of the immigrant population. Such was the case when migrant agricultural workers left the state after the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011. Farmers were short 30%-50% on harvest labor in an industry that required almost 80,000 workers to harvest Georgia’s produce.[37] [38]

Underscoring the state’s historical connection between carceral control and the forced labor of Black individuals, primarily through “convict leasing” implemented after enslaved people were emancipated, Georgia contemplated using incarcerated individuals to close the workforce gap.[39] In November 2011, 62%of Georgia’s prison population was Black, compared to the percentage of Georgia’s general population, which was 30.5% Black at the time of the 2010 Census.[40] Black people were overrepresented in Georgia’s prison population by more than 2 to 1. This group would have made up most of those working in agriculture to replace underpaid Latinx workers who departed the state due to anti-immigrant policy and sentiment.

The Community Harm of Increased Immigration Enforcement in Georgia

In the U.S., being undocumented is considered a civil offense, and statistically, immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes. However, to apprehend and deport undocumented individuals, law enforcement designed deliberate methods to interact with the immigrant community.[41]

During 2003-2020, most of the undocumented people who were apprehended in Georgia committed low-level or nonviolent infractions. This approach to enforcement—focused broadly on the apprehension of all undocumented immigrants, not just those with a criminal record—prioritized immigration enforcement over broader public safety concerns, resulting in significant and compounding harm to the immigrant community. Such practices were particularly prominent during 2019-2020, the final years of the Trump administration.[42] [43]

The apprehension of those with low-level or nonviolent infractions, coupled with rhetoric under the Trump administration, was spine-chilling for many in the immigrant community. Reports circulated throughout the United States, including Georgia, about instances where ICE officials targeted places of employment, state courthouses, places of worship and people’s homes to find undocumented individuals and serve them deportation orders.[44]

In response to these distressing circumstances, immigrant-serving organizations, consulates and advocacy groups held numerous meetings and informational sessions on “know your rights,” offering family crisis planning in case of deportation. Immigrant parents were forced to create contingency plans for their children (including custody transfers, guardianships and other legal arrangements) and extended families in case those parents were apprehended and eventually deported.

Increased immigration enforcement in Georgia generated substantial community harm, particularly for the children of immigrants. The constant threat of enforcement led to children experiencing anxiety and depression. In Georgia, Latinx teens with a family member detained or deported experienced increased suicidal ideation, alcohol consumption and aggressive behavior.[45] Other community harms included an up to 70% decrease in income for a household with a deported family member and millions of dollars of costs to local communities whose law enforcement professionals cooperated with ICE in the detention of immigrants.[46]

Over the past 17 years, a consistent trend has emerged: most people deported have minimal or no criminal history. The table below illustrates the number of people deported from Georgia between 2003 and 2020 and the official reason for their deportation. The data displays the total number of those deported each fiscal year and the number of deportations involving no conviction or a Level 3 on the Most Serious Criminal Convictions (MSCC). Level 3 offenses include misdemeanors and petty, minor offenses.[47] The percentage of those deported with a minor (level 3) offense or no conviction, decreased slightly due to changes in 2014-2015 enforcement priorities designed to “deport felons, not families.” However, that 5% decrease is not enough to say that the shift in priorities achieved its intended goals, as most people deported still had zero-to-little criminal history.[48]

The stark figures in the table raise questions about the rationale for putting ordinary Georgians at risk of deportation. For example, undocumented immigrants often become victims of 287(g) due to minor traffic infractions.[49] [50] In Georgia, the criminalization of driving without a license began in 2008 with the enactment of SB 488, which resulted in undocumented immigrants losing access to driver’s licenses.[51] This restriction provided a pathway for their interaction with law enforcement and subsequent entanglement in the criminal legal system and immigration enforcement.

Bar graph showing the number of detainees who were deported and convicted versus not convicted

Below are arrests ICE (charged with interior enforcement) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) (charged with border enforcement) made between May 2019 and March 2023. During the Trump administration, CBP arrests started declining around mid-2019 and shifted as the pandemic hit in March 2020. The number of CBP arrests decreased even more during this period because of the implementation of Title 42. This policy gives the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the authority to stop people or goods from entering the United States when a “communicable disease” from a foreign country threatens public health. Title 42 was lifted on May 11, 2023, when the public health emergency ended. Some worried that this would usher an influx of migrants to the border; however, in the days following the policy change, unauthorized entries were down. This phenomenon was likely due to migrants finally being able to ask for asylum instead of entering the country without authorization.[52]

A year into the pandemic and a few months into the Biden administration, another shift occurred, with CBP arrests sharply increasing and ICE arrests declining gradually. These trends reflect information GBPI has received from its partners. Amilcar Valencia, Executive Director of El Refugio, states that most people detained in Georgia’s immigration detention centers were coming straight from the border.

Line graph chart showing the number of arrests by ICE versus CBP

For those arrested and confined in Georgia’s immigration detention centers, the distance of centers from major metropolitan areas makes it difficult for attorneys to represent their clients appropriately. Further, Georgia has one of the lowest asylum grant rates in the nation.[53] [54] As a result, immigrants experiencing detention often lack adequate access to legal representation. Even when asylum-seekers have representation, many face an uphill climb even in cases where they qualify for deportation relief. Statistically, immigrants represented by an attorney are five times more likely to win their asylum claim. Consequently, Georgia’s unrepresented asylum seekers are more likely to be sent back to their home country, where they face persecution for various factors, including political opinion and gender identity. Individuals denied asylum in U.S. immigration courts have been deported and murdered for the very reasons stated in their asylum claims.[55]

Immigration Detention Centers Fail Local Workers, Abuse Detainees and Distort Federal Policy for Profit

In the last 20 years, as immigration enforcement has intensified, the federal government has increasingly relied on states and private companies to carry out immigration enforcement. DHS and ICE often lack the necessary resources to apprehend and detain immigrants, leading to private corporations providing detention services. Seventy-nine percent of all immigrants in detention are held in privately-owned prisons.[56] [57]

The private prison industry relies on funding from ICE to operate, but to access this funding municipalities and counties (local governments) with detention centers must enter into an intergovernmental service agreement (IGSA) with ICE. Under these agreements, ICE provides the funds to local governments, serving as an intermediary and subsequently passing the money on to the private prison company responsible for running the detention center.[58]

These IGSAs can appeal to local governments, particularly in rural areas with high unemployment, significant poverty levels and limited local economies. Private prison companies often come to these areas promising to provide residents with jobs and contribute financially to localities in exchange for their role as intermediaries. The city and county leadership see this as a quick solution to their ongoing problems with minimal effort.[59] However, these private prisons rarely provide the long-term economic stability cities and counties seek. The jobs created by these facilities are often low-paying and unstable, failing to fuel sustainable economic growth.[60] Additionally, the reliance on private detention centers and the associated agreements face criticism and scrutiny. The profit-driven nature of the private prison industry, the perpetuation of human rights abuses within these facilities and the impacts on the immigrant community are concerns that have been raised.

Currently, Georgia has two main immigration detention centers—Stewart Detention Center and Folkston Detention Center. Georgia also has another smaller center, Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility, which is used by the U.S. Marshal Service to detain people. Stewart Detention Center, the second largest detention center in the United States, is in Lumpkin, Southwest Georgia, near Alabama. Folkston Detention Center, located in Charlton County, South Georgia, close to the Florida border, is said to have plans for an expansion, likely due to the loss of the Irwin Detention Center.[61] Lumpkin, where Stewart Detention Center is located, has a population of less than 6,000, with 31.4% living in poverty and 28.3% foreign-born, likely due to immigrants in detention being counted in the Census.[62] Charlton County has a population of less than 13,000 with a poverty rate of 25.5 %.[63]

Job opportunities at these facilities are limited, particularly for residents. Stewart Detention Center provides an example of a detention center with promised economic relief that has not been realized. A 2018 CNN report found that prison jobs are often difficult to obtain due to background checks, and many available jobs end up going to those who live between one and two hours from the detention center.[64]

The issue of inadequate employment is highlighted by anti-detention advocates, including Amilcar Valencia, Executive Director of El Refugio. He states that the center does not do much to employ the residents of Lumpkin and that many employees live in Columbus, a 40-minute drive away. Elliot Lepe, an anti-detention activist working to stop the Folkston Detention Center expansion and former a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) litigation advocate,[65] highlights that many private prison employees are often overworked due to understaffing and low pay. Lepe also states that most people employed at the private prison are Black women.

Private detention companies often target areas with limited employment opportunities while looking for other advantages that boost their profits in these communities. Detention centers are massive facilities, and rural areas offer more space and lower construction costs. In addition, the location’s remoteness makes it difficult for families of detained individuals to access and helps the facility avoid public scrutiny. In Georgia, most detention centers, including Stewart, Folkston and Irwin Detention Centers operate or have operated in rural South Georgia.

Georgia Organizations Opposing Immigrant Detention

The following organizations work to shepherd people through the detention process. Though not an exhaustive list, these organizations provide unique support that helps the person detained, uplifts their family and advocates to end the use of detention.

  • Georgia Latino Alliance of Human Rights (GLAHR) provides resources to Georgia’s Latinx community to defend and promote their civil and human rights. This includes deportation defense by limiting ICE presence in the community, fighting for the expansion of sanctuary cities and ending 287(g) in Georgia. They also provide a hotline where people can obtain information and resources for those in detention.
  • Southern Poverty Law Center – Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) provides pro bono legal representation to immigrants in detention. Because most immigrant detention centers are in difficult-to-reach areas, having lawyers ready to provide accessible legal representation offers people who are detained a chance at due process.
  • El Refugio is a hospitality house located near Stewart Detention Center that offers the families of those detained a place to stay while they visit. Along with providing a safe place for families to stay, El Refugio also provides support for those in detention as well as when they finally get out, and resources for families for legal services and financial assistance.
  • Georgia Detention Watch is a coalition of organizations working toward the common goal of ending detention in Georgia and stopping the policies that target the immigrant community for deportation.
  • Project South focuses a portion of their work on shutting down immigrant detention centers in Georgia through grassroots community power, legal work and advocacy, and continuously shining a light on the abuses faced by immigrants in detention.

“When you are in detention, you either get deported or you are released. Those are [the] only two outcomes.”

– Eliot Lepe, Anti-Detention Activist

The combination of intergovernmental service agreements and geographical distance allows for a lack of transparency, granting immigration detention centers considerable freedom in day-to-day operations. Details surrounding the treatment of people detained often surface due to abuse allegations. Irwin Detention Center has produced the most notorious cases of human rights abuses in Georgia.

In September 2020, a whistleblower employee and detained complainants at Irwin exposed abuses by the local obstetrician and gynecologist employed by La Salle Corrections Corporation, which ran the facility.[66] The complaints triggered an investigation in which the physician was found to have performed gynecological procedures on detained women without their consent. Allegations included unconsented fallopian tube removal and unwanted hysterectomies.[67] In May 2021, DHS terminated the detention contract with LaSalle and shuffled the people detained to either Stewart or Folkston Detention centers.[68]

Unfortunately, this is not the first occurrence of reported human rights abuses. Gracie Willis, a lawyer for the SPLC’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI), a program that provides pro bono legal representation to detained immigrants, states that SIFI clients who have been detained routinely recount the horrid experiences they’ve suffered within these centers. Many people detained spend countless days in solitary confinement, which is illegal and causes psychological harm. Some are denied medications, medical attention or preventative care, and others face sexual and physical assault and harm at the hands of prison workers or medical staff. Willis shared that a complaint has been filed with the Office of the Inspector General and Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties against Stewart Detention Center on behalf of immigrants who have experienced sexual abuse while at the facility. However, without whistleblowers to corroborate the stories, these abuses will continue to go unpunished, and without justice for the victims.

As detention abuses accelerate in Georgia and nationally, the anti-detention movement gains momentum, with state legislation introduced nationwide to ban private prisons from doing business in their state and prevent municipalities from entering or renewing intergovernmental service agreements.[69] This movement has successfully stopped immigration detention centers in Illinois, Maryland and California. However, as closures continue, SPLC’s Elliot Lepe describes the situation as “whack-a-mole,” meaning that when an immigration detention center closes, the people being detained are sent to another facility rather than released from custody. As the number of people detained continues to grow, Georgia and other southern states are willing to accommodate the government’s profit-driven detention system.[70]

In recent years, for-profit companies have been critical drivers of federal immigration detention policy. They have lobbied Congress for a 34,000 “guaranteed minimum” of immigration detention beds, with language appearing in federal appropriations bills securing an “at-least-as-high-as-this” funding figure that then allows a company to count on funding for a certain number of detained people in a facility.[71] These guaranteed bed minimums are a contractual agreement between private prison companies and local government operators that require a minimum number of beds to be  filled. The bed minimums guarantee a steady revenue stream for the operators to cover costs and regenerate profit. These agreements ensure that bodies fill these prisons regardless of policy changes.[72] In 2022, the Biden administration tried, and failed, to reduce the guaranteed minimum from 34,000 to 25,000.[73] People in detention already experience harsh conditions, and the practice of guaranteeing bed minimums continues to reduce people to only a number.

In FY 2022, the bed cost per day per detained adult immigrant was $162.50, with an FY 2024 projected cost of $157.20.[74] Immigrant advocates argue that an individual should only be detained if needed, such as in cases where they pose a threat to the community, and that such determinations, made by law enforcement, should then be submitted for review by an immigration judge. Instead, immigration authorities have little discretion to pursue alternatives to detention and are subject to a statutory quota, with the number of occupied beds determined primarily by legislators.[75]

Table displaying information about Georgia detention centers

Line graph displaying Georgia detention population

Above is the overall detention population ranging from August 2020 to June 2023. This graph illustrates population growth in Georgia immigration detention centers during the Trump administration, before and during the pandemic, and a portion of the Biden administration. This chart also reflects the closure of Irwin Detention Center in October 2021. The detention population has declined overall, which Willis says is attributed to an injunction that requires ICE to release people with underlying medical conditions. The Georgia detention population experienced a major uptick in November 2021 that stabilized throughout the rest of the year and saw another minor increase in October 2022 before stabilizing again.

Conclusions and Policy Recommendations

Georgia’s history of incarceration in general and immigrant detention, in particular, has led Georgia’s localities to rely on the private prison industry’s hollow promises to support their local economies. Using immigrant detention for economic reasons causes state-sanctioned human suffering. It is morally reprehensible, particularly when individuals who have committed no crime, are detained for civil offenses, like entering the U.S. without documentation. Immigrant detention perpetuates harmful narratives and harms the immigrant community. However, it does not have to be this way. Viable solutions at the state level can help end the caging of immigrants in the long term and help reduce community harms in the short term—if Georgians press for these changes.

  • Invest in Georgia’s rural communities to reduce dependence on the private prison industry. Lawmakers must go beyond convoluted state tax credits, like the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act, that promise rural prosperity but fail to ultimately deliver.[76] Funding rural broadband expansion, affordable housing, and support for small businesses could be a key part of the answer, as well as a refundable earned income tax credit that helps put money in the pockets of rural Georgians and job training that helps rural Georgians obtain quality jobs.[77]
  • Provide rural Georgians with the support they need to reject low-quality private prison jobs. For example, pass fully expanded Medicaid, a meaningful state minimum wage, enhanced child care supports and expanded safety net benefits without work requirements to ensure that immigration detention centers cannot gain a foothold elsewhere in the state.[78]
  • Pass and implement equitable health care access measures—like the recent elimination of the five-year Medicaid wait for Lawful Permanent Residents—that support the immigrant community by, directly and indirectly, helping reduce community harms triggered by enhanced immigration enforcement and related restrictive immigration policies.[79]
  • Enhance language access across state government, like what was previously proposed in the HB 1013 mental health bill during the 2022 Legislative Session.[80] Such measures could boost mixed-immigrant-status families’ access to public benefits and other critical services.
  • Oppose anti-immigrant measures like those introduced in 2023, including HB 136, requiring the Georgia Department of Corrections’ website to spotlight crimes committed by non-citizens, and HB 452 and SB 132, prohibiting certain non-citizens from purchasing real estate.[81] Such measures villainize the immigrant community and contribute to a narrative that supports expanding the detention of Georgia immigrants.
  • End profit-driven practices that entangle immigrants in the criminal legal system. A starting point for reforms is strengthening fines and fees safeguards by eliminating revenue-based performance goals for law enforcement and judges.[82]
  • Grant immigrant communities the tools to feed their families and avoid deportations. For example, allowing undocumented immigrants access to Driver’s Licenses or Driver’s Privilege Cards would help immigrant families go to work, take their children to school and the doctor. This action would reduce overall entanglements in the criminal legal system and lower the risk of deportation for minor traffic infractions.[83]

By implementing these equitable policy recommendations, Georgia can address its rural economic challenges while promoting justice and equity for all residents, regardless of their immigration status.


[1] Text box source: Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “Delegation of immigration authority section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act.” https://www.ice.gov/identify-and-arrest/287g

[2] Various explanations and theories exist for the rise of the nation-state, with the rise of the “state” sometimes believed to be much earlier than the nation-state. See Carneiro, R. L. (1977). A theory of the origin of the state. Studies in Social Theory (3), 3-21. George Mason University. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://mason.gmu.edu/~trustici/archive/ORIGIN.pdf; it should be noted that the status of the “nation-state” as the ideal configuration for societies has been questioned, with nations and peoples potentially advocating for themselves apart from territorial governments; see: Walby, S. (2003). The myth of the nation-state: Theorizing society and polities in a global era. Sociology (37)3, 529-543. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/resources/sociology-online-papers/papers/walby-mythofthenationstate.pdf

[3] For an example of how the harmful narrative connects with the construction of race, see DenUyl.S. (Winter 2022). The particular harms of the “good immigrant” versus “bad immigrant” construction on Black immigrants in the United States. Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, 36(2), 755-774. https://www.law.georgetown.edu/immigration-law-journal/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2022/05/GT-GILJ220006.pdf

[4] In spite of the federal government’s “plenary” power over immigration, state and local governments do have the ability to make life easier or harder for immigrants through law and policy. See Angel, S. (2020, December 22). Immigration primer. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/immigration-primer/; see also, National Geographic. The federal role in immigration. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/federal-role-immigration

[5] Project South. (December 2017). History of anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia 2006-present. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://projectsouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Anti-Immigrant-Legislation2006-Present.pdf

[6] Kass, A. (2021, February 2). Cobb, Gwinnett end 287(g) immigration programs, work to build trust. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/cobb-gwinnett-end-287g-immigration-programs-work-to-build-trust/TMT42MNZM5E4JCXSXYKBWUYAOU/

[7] Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) Immigration, Syracuse University. Immigration detention quick facts (as of October 31, 2022). Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/quickfacts/detention.html

[8] Khalfani, R. (2023, June 27). Georgia criminal legal systems budget primer for state Fiscal Year 2024. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/georgia-criminal-legal-systems-budget-primer-for-state-fiscal-year-2024/

[9] Prison Policy Initiative. Georgia profile. Retrieved July 5, 2023, from https://www.prisonpolicy.org/profiles/GA.html

[10] Kanu, H. (2022, July 15). Incarceration is money-maker backed by entrenched incentives.  Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/incarceration-is-money-maker-backed-by-entrenched-incentives-2022-07-15/; Crawford, T. (2010, May 1). The business of incarceration. GeorgiaTrend. https://www.georgiatrend.com/2010/05/01/the-business-of-incarceration/

[11] University of Georgia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Poverty rate. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from https://georgiadata.org/topics/economics/poverty-rate

[12] Kass, A. (2021, February 2). Cobb, Gwinnett end 287(g) immigration programs, work to build trust. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/cobb-gwinnett-end-287g-immigration-programs-work-to-build-trust/TMT42MNZM5E4JCXSXYKBWUYAOU/

[13] Brockell, G. (2019, September 7). Before 1619, there was 1526: The mystery of the first enslaved Africans in what became the United States. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/09/07/before-there-was-mystery-first-enslaved-africans-what-became-us/; The Library of Congress. Primary Documents in American History, Indian Removal Act. https://www.loc.gov/rr/program//bib/ourdocs/indian.html; Hallerman, T. (2021, March 26). Asians have a long, complex history navigating Georgia’s racial divides. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from https://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-news/asians-have-long-complex-history-navigating-georgias-racial-divides/NRVZTWMT2ZGLFCUPEEB2XKQMMQ/

[14] Bayala, C. A. (2006). Cuban refugees in Atlanta: 1950-1980. Master’s thesis, Georgia State University. ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University. https://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1012&context=history_theses

[15] Bess, M. K. (2008). Across imagined boundaries: Understanding Mexican migration to Georgia in a transnational and historical context. Master’s thesis, Georgia Southern University. Digital Commons@Georgia Southern. https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1588&context=etd

[16] For further background on Georgia immigrant demographics and the federal policy framework, see: Angel, S. (2020, December 22). Immigration primer. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/immigration-primer/

[17] Wickert, D. (2016, July 15). How the Olympics helped lure Latinos to Atlanta. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt–politics/how-the-olympics-helped-lure-latinos-atlanta/REVqYgdV8LjAypmA3zdSeO/.

[18] Migration Policy Institute. (2005). Federal agencies with immigration and integration responsibilities. (For a graphic representation of DHS and related agencies). https://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/source_images/Source-Spotlight-Dec2005.pdf

[19] US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. About ICE. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://www.ice.gov/about-ice

[20] US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. History of ICE. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://www.ice.gov/history

[21] Kolker, A.F., (2021, August 12). The 287(g) Program: State and Local Immigration Enforcement. Congressional Research Service. https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF11898

[22] American Civil Liberties Union, Press Release: Sheriff Arpaio sued over racial profiling of Latinos In Maricopa County. (2008, July 16). Retrieved June 27, 2023, from https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/sheriff-arpaio-sued-over-racial-profiling-latinos-maricopa-county

[23] National Conference of State Legislatures, Immigrant Policy Project. (2008, July 24). State laws related to immigrants and immigration, January 1-June 30, 2008. https://www.ncsl.org/print/press/immigrationlegislationreport.pdf

[24] Senate Bill 529, Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act of 2006. Georgia General Assembly. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://www.legis.ga.gov/api/legislation/document/20052006/64549; Georgia Department of Labor. Georgia Security & Immigration Compliance Act. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://dol.georgia.gov/georgia-security-immigration-compliance-act

[25] Redmon, J. (2011, April 15). Georgia lawmakers pass illegal immigration crackdown. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 26, 2023, from  https://www.ajc.com/news/local/georgia-lawmakers-pass-illegal-immigration-crackdown/dvEcDeIuAOvpGvoHzCVodN/

[26] In 2008 and following the enactment of the REAL ID Act of 2005, Georgia limited access to Driver’s Licenses to only people who could provide proof of legal status. See Angel, S. (2021, January 25). Green-light Georgia driver’s licenses for all immigrants. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/green-light-georgia-drivers-licenses-for-all-immigrants/#_edn1 and Georgia Department of Labor. Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act. https://dol.georgia.gov/georgia-security-immigration-compliance-act.

[27] Project South. (December 2017). History of anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia 2006-present. Retrieved November 26, 2022, https://projectsouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Anti-Immigrant-Legislation2006-Present.pdf

[28] Bookman, Jay. (2016, January 8). Anti-immigrant fervor drives Georgia GOP batty. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from https://www.ajc.com/blog/jay-bookman/anti-immigrant-fervor-drives-georgia-gop-batty/HDTha3Us03UYzTIQTo7fQJ/; Jones, C. (2010, May 12). Georgia chancellor resists call to check student immigrant status. The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/2010/05/13/georgia-chancellor-resists-call-check-student-immigrant-status/15946370007/

[29] Purdum, L. (2013). Against the immigrant, for the law: An analysis of the “problem” presented in restrictive state-level immigration law in Georgia (p. 84 of thesis, citing p. 145 of Haney-López, I. [1996]. White by law: The legal construction of race. New York University Press: New York.). Master’s thesis, University of Georgia. https://getd.libs.uga.edu/pdfs/purdum_leanne_201308_ma.pdf

[30] Dickson, T. (2011, March 17). Georgia’s Hispanic population doubled in decade, census says. Florida-Times Union. https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/2011/03/17/georgia-s-hispanic-population-doubled-decade-census-says/15910631007/

[31] Kass, A. (2021, February 2). Cobb, Gwinnett end 287(g) immigration programs, work to build trust. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/cobb-gwinnett-end-287g-immigration-programs-work-to-build-trust/TMT42MNZM5E4JCXSXYKBWUYAOU/

[32] For a fuller picture of voluntary local immigration enforcement in Georgia, see: Tharpe, W. (2018, July 18). Voluntary immigration enforcement a costly choice for Georgia communities. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/voluntary-immigration-enforcement-a-costly-choice-for-georgia-communities/

[33] Rose, J. (2018, February 13). How Metro Atlanta became a ‘pioneer” of immigration enforcement. NPR. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/2018/02/13/585301595/why-atlanta-embraces-trump-administrations-immigration-crackdown

[34] Redmon, J. (2020, November 6). New sheriffs to end immigration enforcement program in Cobb, Gwinnett. The Atlanta Journal Constitution. https://www.ajc.com/news/new-sheriffs-to-end-immigration-enforcement-program-in-cobb-gwinnett/ZXNYCGJKWVE27A2FB7HCYPQGNQ/

[35] Kass, A. (2021, February 2). Cobb, Gwinnett end 287(g) immigration programs, work to build trust. The Atlanta JournalConstitution. https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/cobb-gwinnett-end-287g-immigration-programs-work-to-build-trust/TMT42MNZM5E4JCXSXYKBWUYAOU/

[36] Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Delegation of immigration authority section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act. https://www.ice.gov/identify-and-arrest/287g

[37] Duncan, D. (2011, June 26). Immigration law already hitting Georgia farmers. The Gainesville Times. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/immigration-law-already-hitting-georgia-farmers/.

[38] House Bill 87, Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011. Georgia General Assembly. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://www.legis.ga.gov/api/legislation/document/20112012/116631

[39] Redmon, J. (2011, October 6). Georgia may use prisoners to fill farm labor gap. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 22, 2023 from  https://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt–politics/georgia-may-use-prisoners-fill-farm-labor-gap/vsdMMBqPjpxdiuUYFmrLmK/; Matos, K. (2021, June 17). The chains of slavery still exist in mass incarceration. Retrieved May 22, 2023 from https://www.vera.org/news/the-chains-of-slavery-still-exist-in-mass-incarceration; Khalfani, R. (2022, September 5). Labor Day 2022: Georgia’s correctional control and carceral abuse hurt all workers. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. Retrieved May 22, 2023 from https://gbpi.org/labor-day-2022-georgias-correctional-control-and-carceral-abuse-hurt-all-workers/; University System of Georgia. (n.d.) The New South and the new slavery: The convict lease system. https://georgia-exhibits.galileo.usg.edu/spotlight/convict-labor/feature/the-convict-lease-system

[40] Georgia Department of Corrections. (November 2011). Inmate statistical profile. https://gdc.ga.gov/sites/default/files/all/files/pdf/Research/Monthly/Profile_all_inmates_2011_10.pdf; US Census Bureau. US Census Profile 2010: Georgia. https://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/dc10_thematic/2010_Profile/2010_Profile_Map_Georgia.pdf

[41] Barncard, C. Undocumented immigrants far less likely to commit crimes in US than citizens. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://news.wisc.edu/undocumented-immigrants-far-less-likely-to-commit-crimes-in-u-s-than-citizens/

[42] For reference, information for the figure following this endnote was drawn from Martinez, O., Wu, E., Sandfort, T., Dodge, B., Carballo-Dieguez, A., Pinto, R., Rhodes, S. D., Moya, E. & Chavez-Baray, S. (2013). Evaluating the impact of immigration policies on health status among undocumented immigrants: A systematic review. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 17(3), 947-950. Retrieved July 10, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4074451/; Hill, J., Rodriguez, D. X.  & McDaniel, P. N. (2021, March 20). Immigration status as a health care barrier in the USA during COVID-19. Journal of Migration and Health. Retrieved July 11, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7979269/; Derr, A. S. (2016). Mental health service use among immigrants in the United States: A systematic review. Psychiatric Services. Retrieved July 11, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26695493/; Rodríguez, M. A., Young, M-E & Wallace, S. P. (2015). Creating conditions to support healthy people: State policies that affect the health of undocumented immigrants and their families. University of California Global Health Institute /UCLA Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America/UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Retrieved July 10, 2023, from http://healthpolicy.ucla.edu/publications/Documents/PDF/2015/immigrantreport-apr2015.pdf; Barshay, J. (2020, May 4). Study: Deportations widen Latino-white achievement gaps at school (Obama-era deportations associated with increased absenteeism and decreased math scores among Latino students). The Hechinger Report. https://hechingerreport.org/study-deportations-widen-latino-white-achievement-gaps-at-school/; Young, A. & Muñoz, C. (2023, March 3). Education equity is good for DACA recipients and Georgia. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/education-equity-is-good-for-daca-recipients-and-georgia-bill-analysis-house-bill-131-lc-49-1187/

[43] Robbins, D. (2018, December 28). Settlements in prison doctor lawsuits top $3 million; could go higher. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/settlements-prison-doctor-lawsuits-top-million-could-higher/gTGdogyPngTMIKraPuJPSM/; Montoya-Galvez, C. (2022, November 19). Investigation finds women detained by ICE underwent “unnecessary gynecological procedures” at Georgia facility. CBS News. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/women-detained-ice-unnecessary-gynecological-procedures-georgia-facility-investigation/ (This tragedy reflects a broader pattern of negative outcomes for Georgia’s women of color, reinforced by policies that fail to support them; see also: Finch Floyd, I. & Chan, L. (2023, July 5). Legislation could better address Georgia’s Black maternal health crisis. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/legislation-could-better-address-georgias-black-maternal-health-crisis/

[44] Dickerson, C. Corasaniti, N. Sandoval, E. (2019, July 14). ICE launches raids targeting migrant families. The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/14/us/ice-immigration-raids.html; Schaefer, D. Personal knowledge from immigration client conversations, 2006-2008.

[45] American Immigration Council. U.S. Citizen Children Impacted by Immigration Enforcement. Retrieved June 28, 2023 from https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/us-citizen-children-impacted-immigration-enforcement

[46] Capps, R., Hooker, S., Koball, H., Pedroza, J. M., Campetellla, A., & Pereira, K. (September 2015). Implications of immigration enforcement activities for the well-being of children and immigrant families. Migration Policy Institute. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/ASPE-ChildrenofDeported-Lit%20Review-FINAL.pdf; Tharpe, W. (2018, July 18). Voluntary immigration enforcement a costly choice for Georgia communities. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/voluntary-immigration-enforcement-a-costly-choice-for-georgia-communities/ (The cost to city and county governments for honoring immigration detainers between 2008 and 2017 was $88 million; lost tax and economic contributions from mixed-status families could run into the hundreds of millions.)

[47] Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) Immigration, Syracuse University. About the data—all ICE removals. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://trac.syr.edu/phptools/immigration/remove/about_data.html

[48] The stated purposes of President Obama’s executive actions in late 2015 were cracking down on illegal immigration at the border; deporting felons, not families; accountability – criminal background checks and taxes. The White House. (2014, November 20). Fact sheet: Immigration accountability executive action. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/20/fact-sheet-immigration-accountability-executive-action
[49] Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) Immigration, Syracuse University. Immigrant Detention Numbers on Their Way Back Up After Pandemic Slump?. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://trac.syr.edu/whatsnew/email.220610.html

[50] Tharpe, W. (2018, July 18). Voluntary immigration enforcement a costly choice for Georgia communities. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/voluntary-immigration-enforcement-a-costly-choice-for-georgia-communities/. Similar trends from disaggregated data were found through GBPI analysis of Hall County’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) response to Asian Americans Advancing Justice, dated 6/15/2017. “Minor traffic offenses” includes driving without a license, suspended license and failing a stop sign—driving under the influence is not included. This analysis covers 182 people who were arrested in Hall County and transferred to ICE from 1/27/2017 to 5/26/2017.

[51] Angel, S. (2021, January 25). Green-light Georgia driver’s licenses for all immigrants. Retrieved May 19, 2023, from https://gbpi.org/green-light-georgia-drivers-licenses-for-all-immigrants/#_edn2

[52] Selee, A. (2023, June 5). What Does the End of Title 42 Mean for U.S. Migration Policy?. Carnegie Corporation of New York. https://www.carnegie.org/our-work/article/what-does-end-title-42-mean-us-migration-policy/

[53] Hernandez, C. C. G. (2011). Due process and immigrant detainee prison transfers: Moving LPRs to isolated prisons violates their right to counsel. Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, 21(1),17-60. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1814385

[54] Redmon, J. (2019, July 25). Georgia’s immigration court judges among the toughest in the nation. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. https://www.ajc.com/news/breaking-news/georgia-immigration-court-judges-among-toughest-nation-for-asylum/svQ2CmRGXS5Hgi2utVTmrO/

[55] Mark, M. (2018, December 7). The U.S. deported a man who said he feared for his life ‘on a daily basis’ in Honduras and was trying to seek asylum. He was found murdered. Insider. https://www.insider.com/us-deported-asylum-seeker-murdered-honduras-2018-12; Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) Immigration, Syracuse University. Asylum representation rates have fallen amid rising denial rates. https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/491/

[56] McCarty, D. (2022, June 21). Private prison industry shifts focus to immigrant detention centers, funding immigration hawks. Open Secrets. Retrieved May 19, 2023, from https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2022/06/private-prison-industry-shifts-focus-to-immigrant-detention-centers-funding-immigration-hawks/#:~:text=The%20turn%20to%20immigration%20detention&text=As%20a%20result%2C%2079%25%20of,and%20oversight%20to%20prevent%20abuse.

[57] Text box reference: The GEO Group, Inc. Our locations, Folkston ICE Processing Center. Retrieved July 12, 2023, from https://www.geogroup.com/FacilityDetail/FacilityID/203; Jackson, G. (2010, January 13). Federal inmates to be housed at Georgia’s D. Ray James Prison. Jacksonville.com. https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/crime/2010/01/14/federal-inmates-to-be-housed-at-georgias-d-ray-james-prison/15959639007/; Zapotosky, Matt & Harlan, Chico. (2016, August 18). Justice Department says it will end use of private prisons. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/08/18/justice-department-says-it-will-end-use-of-private-prisons/

[58] Subramanian, R., Fielding, J., Eisen, L-B, Stroud, H. & King. T. (2022, July 6). Revenue over public safety: How perverse financial incentives warp the criminal justice system. The Brennan Center. https://www.brennancenter.org/media/9813/download

[59] Rappleye, H. & Riordan Seville, L. (2012, April 10). How one Georgia town gambled its future on Immigration detention. The Nation. Retrieved July 9, 2023, from https://perma.cc/G7SH-4W2M?type=standard; Shapiro, D. (2011, November 2). Banking on bondage: Private prisons and mass incarceration, pp. 20-21. American Civil Liberties Union. https://www.aclu.org/documents/banking-bondage-private-prisons-and-mass-incarceration

[60] Private prisons have historically paid their officers less than public prisons. See Blakely, C. & Bumphus, V. (2004, June). Private and public sector prisons: A comparison of select characteristics. Federal Probation 68(1). https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/fed_probation_june_2004.pdf

[61] O’Toole, M. (2021, May 20). ICE to close Georgia detention center where immigrant women alleged medical abuse. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 10, 2023, from https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-05-20/ice-irwin-detention-center-georgia-immigrant-women-alleged-abuse

[62] United State Census Bureau. Quick Facts: Stewart County Georgia. Retrieved May 19, 2023, from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/stewartcountygeorgia/PST045222

[63] University of Georgia: Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Georgia Data. Poverty rate (2020, Charlton County). Retrieved May 22, 2023, from https://georgiadata.org/topics/economics/poverty-rate

[64] Shoichet, C. (2018, August). Inside America’s Hidden Border: Outside the Gates. Retrieved May 19, 2023, from https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2018/08/us/ice-detention-stewart-georgia/?utm_content=chapter_04/

[65] Redmon, J. & Grinspan, L. (2022, February 4). Exclusive: Ga. immigration facility to become one of nation’s largest. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. https://www.ajc.com/news/exclusive-south-georgia-immigration-detention-complex-aims-to-expand/QN5G2BFOPREQHEBDOPPAX2PSVI/

[66] Olivares, J. Washington, J. (2020, September 15). “He just empties you all out”: Whistleblower reports high number of hysterectomies at ICE detention facility. The Intercept. Retrieved May 19, 2023 from https://theintercept.com/2020/09/15/hysterectomies-ice-irwin-whistleblower/

[67] Raymond, J. (2022, November 15). Ossoff to present findings of investigation into abuse, unnecessary gynecological procedures at Georgia ICE facility. 11Alive. https://www.11alive.com/article/news/state/irwin-county-georgia-ice-detention-center-abuse-ossoff-senate-investigation-findings/85-5f01519c-a96a-4c11-ac4f-e10798d208dd

[68] Department of Homeland Security. ICE to close two detention centers. Retrieved May 19, 2023, from https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/05/20/ice-close-two-detention-centers

[69] State legislation ban on immigration detention. Detention Watch Network. Retrieved May 19, 2023, from https://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/sites/default/files/State%20Legislation%20Bans%20on%20Immigration%C2%A0Detention_DWN_12.16.2021.pdf

[70] See Freedom for Immigrants. Mapping immigrant detention. https://www.freedomforimmigrants.org/map

[71] Gruberg, S. (2015, December 18). How for-profit companies are driving immigration detention policies. Center for American Progress. https://www.americanprogress.org/article/how-for-profit-companies-are-driving-immigration-detention-policies/

[72] Subramanian, R., Fielding, J., Eisen, L-B, Stroud, H. & King. T. (2022, July 6). Revenue over public safety: How perverse financial incentives warp the criminal justice system. The Brennan Center. https://www.brennancenter.org/media/9813/download

[73] American Immigration Lawyers Association. (2023, March 28). Featured issue: Immigrant detention and alternatives to detention. Retrieved July 12, 2023, from https://www.aila.org/advo-media/issues/featured-issue-immigration-detention; Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) Immigration. Detention facilities average daily population. Retrieved July 12, 2023, from https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/detentionstats/facilities.html; Sullivan, E. (2022, March 25). Biden to ask congress for 9,000 fewer immigration detention beds. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/25/us/politics/biden-immigration-detention-beds.html

[74] Department of Homeland Security. Fiscal Year 2024 Congressional justification. Retrieved July 12, 2024, from https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/2023-03/U.S%20IMMIGRATION%20AND%20CUSTOMS%20ENFORCEMENT_Remediated.pdf; American Immigration Lawyers Association. (2023, March 28). Featured issue: Immigrant detention and alternatives to detention. Retrieved July 12, 2023, from https://www.aila.org/advo-media/issues/featured-issue-immigration-detention

[75] Justice for Immigrants (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). (2016). Immigrant detention bed mandate. https://justiceforimmigrants.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Detention-Bed-Mandate-1-18-17.pdf; National Immigrant Justice Center. (December 2015). Immigrant detention bed quota timeline. https://immigrantjustice.org/sites/default/files/ImmigrationDetentionBedQuotaTimeline_2015_12_09.pdf

[76] Kanso, D. (2021, March 10). Costly corporate tax break package would give millions to wealthy corporations. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/costly-corporate-tax-break-package-would-give-millions-to-wealthy-corporations/

[77] Dunlap, S. (2023, June 26). Georgia Democrats trumpet $1.3b grant to expand rural broadband internet connections. Georgia Recorder. https://georgiarecorder.com/2023/06/26/georgia-democrats-trumpet-1-3b-grant-to-expand-rural-broadband-internet-connections/

[78] Kanso, D. (2019, March 5). Georgia work credit grows the middle class. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/georgia-work-credit-grows-middle-class/; Chan, L. (2023, January 11). Money matters: Comparing the costs of full Medicaid expansion to the pathways to coverage program. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/money-matters-comparing-the-costs-of-full-medicaid-expansion-to-the-pathways-to-coverage-program/; Tharpe, W. (2015, February 13). Lift Georgia’s economy with a higher minimum wage. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/lift-georgias-economy-with-a-higher-minimum-wage/; Harker, L. (2020, September 15). Support early childhood education programs for health and well-being of Georgia families. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/support-early-childhood-education-programs-for-health-and-well-being-of-georgia-families/

[79] Schaefer, D. (2023, March 29). Sine Die 2023 recap. Health. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/sine-die-2023/

[80] HB 1013, Mental Health Parity Act. https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61365; Prabhu, M. (2022, March 16). Lawmakers seek overhaul of Georgia’s mental health system. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. https://www.ajc.com/politics/lawmakers-tackle-overhaul-of-georgias-mental-health-system/G2I5PSDOHJE67L3ISRAH3OC6GI/

[81] Schaefer, D. (2023, March 29). Sine Die 2023 recap. Immigrant communities. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/sine-die-2023/

[82] Khalfani, R. (2022, December 6). Regressive revenue perpetuates poverty: Why Georgia’s fines and fees need immediate reform. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/regressive-revenue-perpetuates-poverty-why-georgias-fines-and-fees-need-immediate-reform/

[83] Angel, S. (2021, January 25). Green-light Georgia driver’s licenses for all immigrants. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/green-light-georgia-drivers-licenses-for-all-immigrants/

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