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
  • Injured snowy owl ready to be released ST. PAUL (AP) — A rare snowy owl that gained national attention when it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital is scheduled to be released into the wild after a rehab stint in Minnesota. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • Court case to test 'Buy the Farm' law NEW PRAGUE (AP) — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota's "Buy the Farm" law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it. The case pits th

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge strikes down part of state energy law MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • White House updating online privacy policy A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tribut

    April 18, 2014

  • Horse virus cases showing up in Upper Midwest BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials in the Upper Midwest are cautioning horse owners about a virus that spreads easily among the animals and can lead to breathing problems, abortions and nervous system disorders. Three cases of equine herpesvirus

    April 18, 2014

  • Bear attacks spark debate: Kill them, or leave them alone? ORLANDO, Fla.—Dallas Smith thinks he has the answer to Central Florida’s black-bear threat, and he’s ready to lock and load it. “I think the fear of God needs to be put back into them,” said Smith, 47, who wants state authorities to lift restriction

    April 18, 2014

  • Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' ST. PAUL — (AP) — Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign. The revamped message kicks off a maj

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp ap pipeline photo Minnesota Pipe Line seeks to expand capacity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Pipe Line Co. announced plans Thursday to nearly double the capacity of a crude oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada and North Dakota to the two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce most of Minnesota's and much

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holder asserts his commitment to fighting heroin WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront

    April 17, 2014

  • Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds ATLANTA — Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her speech, but she

    April 17, 2014

Press-Plus Subscribe
Sign In
Featured Ads
AP Video