March 6, 2019

Guest column in today’s Camilla (GA) Mitchell County Enterprise-Journal newspaper: Republican Rep Jay Powell joins Democrats in holding back bill on cost of incarceration of illegal immigrants HB 202

Posted by D.A. King at 12:02 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

Image: Dustin Inman Society


Camilla Enterprise


March 6, 2019

Inside the State Capitol: Immigration

HB 202 imperiled in Atlanta

Republican Rep Jay Powell joins Democrats in holding back bill on cost of incarceration of illegal immigrants


D.A. King

HB 202 from Rep Jesse Petrea (R- Savannah) is a simple and long-overdue one-page state bill that would require the Georgia Department of Corrections to publish a public, quarterly report on the number of non-citizens in the state prison system, the number of that group who already are suspected to be here illegally, the home nations and crimes committed along with the percentage of the entire prison population these aliens represent.

For many Capitol observers it has long been understood that Georgia Democrats hope taxpayers don’t ever see any official hard data on any part of the cost of illegal immigration. Now, with crossover day looming, the House Rules Committee – with Camilla’s Republican Rep Jay Powell as chairman – seems poised to prove that it’s not only the Democrats who take that view.

Crossover Day is the last day by which legislation must be passed by either the House or the Senate to have a chance to become law in the state legislature. This year, Crossover Day is tomorrow, Thursday, March 7.

Powell’s House Rules Committee serves as the filter on what legislation that has already been vetted and passed by the public committee system goes to the full House for a vote on final passage. As chairman, Rep Powell has landed one of the most powerful positions under the state Capitol’s famous Gold Dome.

Rules Chairman Jay Powell (R- Camilla)
Image: Georgia House

Rep Jay Powell – photo: Georgia House

Including many members of the Republican House, conservatives were shocked last week when Powell joined the Democrats on the Rules Committee and expressed his objection to HB 202. Rep Powell has final say on what bills are passed out of the committee to see a vote in the House. As can be seen on House video archives, he sarcastically asked the bill’s sponsor why the bill to shed public light on the number of non-citizens in the prison system and their immigration status was even needed.

The most commonly offered response from conservative voters to Powell’s remarkable question is that “it is our tax dollars being used to pay for the incarceration of the foreigners, we have a right to know and because it is our state, that’s why.”

It should be noted for readers here that the U. S. Department of Homeland Security reports that Georgia is home to more illegal aliens than is Arizona. The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute notes that our state has more illegals than “green card” holders.

The bill – and Powell’s refusal to allow the House to vote on it – has drawn national news coverage. Among other outlets, Breitbart News has run a March 1 story entitled “Georgia Establishment Legislators Try to Hide Migrant Crime from Voters.”

Right now Georgians who want official information on the cost of locking up criminal aliens are calling Rep Powell’s office in Atlanta at 404-656-5141 and emailing ( to urge him to allow a vote on HB 202. And a lot of far-left Democrat voters are calling his office to tell him to hold back the bill.

Readers here can show which outcome they favor by calling or emailing Rep Jay Powell with either message. There is still time to change Rep Powell’s mind.


A former Gold Dome lobbyist, King is proprietor of the ‘Immigration Politics Georgia’ website and a nationally recognized authority on immigration. He is not a member of any political party.