Counties to get extra money for turning in illegals
By Ernie Suggs
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, March 24, 2010
Under a contentious bill that passed the Senate Wednesday, state and local governments can earn monetary bonuses from the state by quickly turning criminal illegal immigrants over to federal authorities.
The bill, SB 385, passed 37-11.
'This bill is a shot in the arm for our local governments and sheriffs who are on the front lines of this pressing issue everyday,' said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. 'The status quo is not acceptable and this bill will bring Georgia one step closer to the reform we need.'
Local governments that use the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Section 287(g) and Secured Communities programs would qualify for a 20 percent bonus for using the ICE 287(g) program and a 10 percent bonus for participating in the Secured Communities program, which identifies and removes criminal immigrants from the country.
The bills sponsor, Sen. John Wiles (R-Kennesaw) said the legislation would help relieve monetary burdens from local governments.
'Georgia welcomes anyone who wants to be a law-abiding citizen to make a better life for themselves and their family,' Wiles said. 'For those who choose to break the law, they must suffer the consequences.'
Critics argued that because Cobb County would benefit from the bill as one of the counties who use the program, Wiles was using the state to help his countys financial situation.
In a press release issued by Refugee Family Services and the Georgia Refugee Policy Initiative, the bill would: 'substantially increase funds to Cobb and Gwinnett counties, who have implemented 287(g) programs, while other departments are seeing their budgets cut. The bill is presented to reward those who are doing a good job in rounding up the undocumented. But when presented as a reward, the community hears bounty.'