As shown in a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, immigrants at Georgia detention centers are more likely to be deported and less likely to receive bond than the national average.
Stewart Detention Center and Irwin County Detention Center are two of the three immigration detention centers in Georgia, both of which experience abnormally high rates of deportation. SPLC found that “nationally, 60.3% of detainees were released for deportation in FY 2015. At Stewart Detention Center, 87.1% of detainees were deported upon release. Irwin County Detention Center also exceeded the national average with 75% of detainees released for deportation.”
Bonds are set by local ICE agents or immigration judges at the Stewart Detention Center or the Atlanta Immigration Court. In Georgia, not only are detained immigrants less likely to receive bond, if they receive it it’s set much higher than the national average, making it less likely they’ll be able to afford it.
“Nationally, 10.5% of detainees were released on bond. At Stewart Detention Center, only 5.2% of detainees were released from detention on bond. At the Irwin County Detention Center, it was 7.7% of detainees… Nationally, the initial bond for detainees was $8,200 in FY 2015. At Stewart Detention Center, however, the average bond was 67% higher: $13,714… At Irwin County Detention Center, the average bond was 41% higher, at $11,637.”
ICE also has “immigration detainment commitments” with many counties in Georgia, meaning that undocumented immigrants that are pulled over for traffic violations often quickly end up in the Immigration Detention Centers. Gwinnett County, for example, has made 29,210 charges since the adopting this program in 2009.
In addition to experiencing higher rates of deportation, Georgian immigrants also experience higher rates of charges, detainment, and arrest. In a state where our schools our chronically underfunded, health care is inaccessible to so many and the childhood poverty rate is one of the highest in the U.S., it seems like we should be focuses on fixing systemic problems rather than expending millions of dollars to rip families apart.