Federal immigration authorities are targeting 1,256 Georgia prisoners convicted of murder, rape, and other offenses for possible deportation, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The strain illegal immigrants are placing on Georgia's prisons and other taxpayer-funded resources is at the center of the debate over the state's tough new immigration law.
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. They include a wide range of criminals, including robbers, child molesters, and drug dealers. 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.