6/14 – WABE(Audio) – County Sheriff says new immigration law may cost local taxpayers (2011-06-14)

WABE: County Sheriff says new immigration law may cost local taxpayers (2011-06-14).

County Sheriff says new immigration law may cost local taxpayers

(2011-06-14)

(WABE)Parts of Georgia’s new illegal immigration law should go into effect beginning in July. One county sheriff in the state worries that the new law will cost his county’s taxpayers more money.

Gregory Coursey is the sheriff of Burke County, which includes part of Augusta. Coursey plans to enforce the state’s new immigration law, but he’s worried that it may be an unfunded mandate. Right now, if the sheriff’s office identifies someone as an illegal immigrant, Coursey says, federal authorities will either pick up the offender within 48 hours or authorize a release. If the state’s new immigration law goes into effect, Coursey says, that will change.

“We’ll be required to hold them indefinitely on the speeding charge or whatever the charge may be, which could place a heavier burden on the local taxpayer.”

Coursey says he doesn’t see ICE immediately picking up one minor traffic offender. The feds may wait until more illegal immigrants are identified, and the county will have to pick up the tab.

“By the state’s own figures that we go by, they estimate it costs at least 50 a day to keep a prisoner.”

Coursey says that he’s not getting any additional state or federal money to enforce the new illegal immigration law. The governor’s office did not comment by deadline.

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