For many watchers it has long been assumed that the Republicans who run the Gold Dome would rather taxpayers not have any official hard data on any part of the cost of illegal immigration. Now, with crossover day looming, the House Rules Committee with South Georgia Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) as chairman seems poised to prove that assumption.
In a red-ish state that is home to more illegal aliens than green card holders, we may never be allowed to know the cost of state incarceration of the illegal aliens.
HB 202 from Rep Jesse Petrea (R- Savannah) is a simple and long-overdue one-pager that would require the Georgia Department of Corrections to publish a public, quarterly report on the number of non-citizens in the prison system, the number of that group who already are subjects of ICE detainers, the home nations and crimes committed along with the percentage of the entire prison population these aliens represent.
All concerned should note that ICE detainers could only be issued if federal authorities have already had contact with illegal aliens who are serving state time. The current version of the bill is a step back from original language that would have required immigration status, if known, of all aliens in the system. The data the now weakened legislation produced would not be an indicator of the entire cost of incarcerating all illegal aliens in the state. But it is apparently still too much information for the House Rules Committee.
A letter of endorsement to Rep Petrea from Mr. Robert Trent, a now retired Senior ICE enforcement agent in Brunswick, notes that because the DOC is using the federal 287 (g) program in addition to the Secure Communities system to collect fingerprints from prisoners, they have more than enough tools to gather information on the immigration status for all prisoners. These databases can also alert ICE to legal immigrants who may be deportable.
This writer testified in support of the bill in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee earlier this week and watched with pleasant surprise to see that there were more pro-enforcement Americans – including several immigrants – signed up to speak in favor of Petrea’s legislation than there were corporate-funded leftists opposed to the bill.
Here is a picture of the committee sign-up sheet.
Few of the conservative present could have imagined that the Republican House Rules Committee would favor the anti-enforcement lobby. But they have not been watching the Capitol workings on illegal immigration for sixteen-years as has this writer.
Race baiting by the Democrats
It should also be noted that several Democrats in yesterday’s Rules Committee hearing made it clear that data on the number and cost of any part of the illegal alien population in our prisons could “…start a race war…” Committee video here starts at 19:10.
We also note that none of the Rules Committee members asked “what would Barbara Jordan do?”
HB 202 has now captured national attention with pro-passage, activist alerts from the influential NumbersUSA in Washington DC as well as several pro-enforcement groups in Georgia, including the Dustin Inman Society.
The bill has been to Rules twice and failed. It is not clear if Chairman Jay Powell will allow it to be presented again, but already conservative voters are grumbling that a refusal to allow transparency on the cost of even one part of illegal immigration is yet another signal that Business-First Republican lawmakers have something to hide “this is one reason they are losing ground…” one long-time GOP’er told us.
You read it here first.
D.A. King is president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society and proprietor of the news Immigration Politics Georgia website. He is not a member of any political party.