The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

June 5, 2013

Federal legislation could steer many illegal immigrants away from detention

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — The hundreds of illegal immigrants locked up in the North Georgia Detention Center wear one of three colors, which instantly convey something about their past.

Men and women who have committed no serious offenses other than entering the country illegally may wear deep blue. Those convicted of crimes such as theft or drug-dealing may wear flame orange. Those guilty of violent crimes such as murder or rape wear blood red.

Regardless of uniform color, each detainee costs taxpayers — an average of $164 a day, by one informed estimate.

That price tag is one reason proponents of immigration reform support the sweeping bill now pending in the U.S. Senate. Provisions buried deep in the 844-page measure would allow more nonviolent immigrants to remain in their communities while the government attempts to deport them.

Although critics say without detention, illegal immigrants could flee.

Those sections have received less attention than the centerpiece of Senate Bill 744 — a route to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. That provision alone could dramatically cut the number of immigrants being held behind bars.

To understand the full impact of the bill, which is expected to get a Senate vote this month, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution analyzed it in detail.

The legislation proposes alternatives to incarceration for illegal immigrants not deemed to be dangerous. Such alternatives might include supervised release, routine check-ins with immigration authorities and electronic monitoring. The bill would permit the government to contract with nongovernmental organizations that could screen and supervise illegal immigrants in their communities. In order to lock them up, it would be up to the government to show that they posed a flight risk or a threat to public safety.

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants are held behind bars nationwide each year; it’s not clear how many of them the proposed changes would affect. Georgia has three privately run detention centers, located in Gainesville, Lumpkin and Ocilla. In all, there are more than 3,000 beds available for immigrant detainees in Georgia, including 188 at the Atlanta City Detention Center.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Black box found at Air Algerie wreckage site PARIS (AP) — French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason f

    July 25, 2014

  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border MOSCOW (AP) — The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east. Ukrainian forces are trying to close in

    July 25, 2014

  • Deal still elusive for Gaza cease-fire CAIRO (AP) — Turbulent negotiations to broker a temporary truce in the Gaza Strip are continuing against the backdrop of fresh Israeli attacks on Palestinian militants. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban

    July 25, 2014

  • Transcript shows concerns during Arizona execution FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent — and unusual — request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't seem to be workin

    July 25, 2014

  • Sniper-Author-Ventura [Duplicate] Day 3 of deliberations ends in Ventura lawsuit Jury has deliberated 19 hours

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man accused of stealing from group HASTINGS (AP) — An Apple Valley man is charged with five counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $113,000 from a Rosemount youth athletics group. Sixty-two-year-old Robert Steven Reischauer was the former finance manager of the Rosemount Ar

    July 24, 2014

  • Sanders offers lower-cost bill to reform VA Bill would allow vets to go to private doctors

    July 24, 2014

  • Wetland Loss [Duplicate] Report says Prairie Pothole region losing wetlands BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal officials and conservationists say a recent report detailing wetland losses in the five-state Prairie Pothole Region over the past decade highlights the need for increased protection for the region that provides breeding

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • France: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, the plane's owner and a French government official said. Air navigation services lost

    July 24, 2014

  • Migrant children face test in Dallas immigration court DALLAS — In a packed Dallas immigration courtroom, Elsy Garcia sits next to her 16-year-old brother, Jose. She last saw him when he was 9, when she fled their home in Usulutan in southern El Salvador. Now Jose is facing deportation. His case is conf

    July 24, 2014