Illegal aliens outnumber lawfully-present immigrants in Georgia by a large margin. According to a 2018 report from the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute (GBPI), 377,000 illegal aliens live in the Peach State compared to 260,000 legal immigrants with green cards. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has Georgia’s illegal-alien population higher at about 422,000, meaning there are almost as many illegal aliens as the state’s 427,000 naturalized citizens.
GBPI is a pro-amnesty organization in the state that pushes for illegal aliens to be treated as if they were lawful residents. The organization argues in the report that detainers and 287(g) agreements are a drain on Georgia’s economy. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issues detainer requests so that local law enforcement will know to hold criminal aliens until ICE can arrive. ICE also utilizes the 287(g) program to train local law enforcement in handling federal immigration laws. Several Georgia counties are part of this program.
The GBPI report states that a little over $8.3 million in taxpayer money is spent annually on detainer requests in the Peach State.
However, GBPI is not explaining the full story. Not once does the organization mention in the report the full annual cost the state pays for illegal immigration. According to FAIR, Georgia suffers from the seventh largest illegal-alien population in the U.S., and that adds up. Illegal aliens and their children cost Georgian taxpayers nearly $2.5 billion each year. This includes education, medical costs, and the usage of welfare programs. So, if these immigration enforcement programs reduce the cost of illegal immigration by even 1 percent, they become a bargain.
But this enforcement is not just all about the cash involved, either. By encouraging counties to not honor retainer requests, GBPI is advocating for the release of potentially dangerous criminal aliens back into the public. This has already led to preventable tragedies in the past. San Francisco law enforcement ignored a detainer request for the illegal alien who eventually killed Kate Steinle a few years ago. Last year another illegal alien allegedly murdered three people in Missouri after his detainer request was ignored in New Jersey.
The fact that Georgia has more illegal aliens than legal immigrants is a serious problem, and travesties similar to those previously mentioned have already occurred in the state. It is concerning that organizations like GBPI are attempting to convince the public that illegal immigration is actually beneficial and that illegal aliens are just victims of their circumstances. In reality, detainer requests and the 287(g) program serve to protect American citizens and help to alleviate the costs associated with illegal immigration.