Metro Atlanta Leaders to Use Federal Money to Address Crime

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Leaders in the metro Atlanta area said they plan to use American Rescue Plan funding to address public safety issues.

Officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties and the city of Atlanta have announced plans to use a portion of the federal aid to increase public safety or address criminal justice backlogs.

According to several reports, Atlanta and adjacent cities have seen a spike in crime over the past year. State lawmakers have launched a study to look at ways to curb the issue. Gov. Brian Kemp directed $5 million last month from his emergency fund to address the crisis.

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Georgia Economy Strong as Net Tax Collections Up Nearly 70 Percent Versus This Time Last Year

The State of Georgia’s May net tax collections approached $2.66 billion for an increase of roughly $1.08 billion, or 68.1 percent, compared to May 2020. Net tax collections in May of last year totaled $1.58 billion, according to a press release that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp released this week.

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Vernon Jones Accuses Georgia Gov. Kemp of ‘Sitting on the Sideline’ During 2020 Election

Former state lawmaker and GOP gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones released a video on Thursday criticizing Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for his actions during the 2020 election process.

“In 2020, I witnessed, firsthand, Brian Kemp abandon the President, costing us two Senate seats and the Oval Office. He chose to sit on the sideline,” Jones said. “While Brian Kemp was on the sidelines, I was on the frontlines — rallying support for the President, criss-crossing the country, and fighting for the integrity of our elections.

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Judge Rejects Bid to Move MLB All Star Game Back to Georgia

A federal judge Friday ruled against a nonprofit that sued Major League Baseball for moving its All Star game from Atlanta to Denver. 

“U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Carponi ruled against a not-for-profit organization representing small businesses, saying a lawsuit had failed to provide proof that its members have suffered any injuries by the decision to move the game,” Associated Press reported. 

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Two Georgia Legislators Will Influence How Reapportionment Affects Peach State Residents

Members of the Georgia General Assembly are preparing to discuss reapportionment, which involves redrawing district lines for the U.S. House of Representatives following the 2020 Census. Members of the Georgia House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee as well as members of the Georgia Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee will hold a joint virtual town hall hearing next week. The hearing will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15 on the Georgia General Assembly’s website.

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Stacey Abrams Refers to Georgia’s Voter Integrity Law as ‘Jim Crow 2.0’

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and others said at a Thursday night town hall that Republicans nationwide are passing voter integrity bills to prevent black people from voting. During this virtual town hall, Abrams told audience members to pressure the U.S. Senate to pass the For the People Act. Some people also refer to the bill as H.R. 1. The For the People Act, if enacted into law, would nationalize federal elections. The proposed law would require that states automatically register residents to vote and also require absentee ballot drop boxes. The For the People Act would also eliminate state restrictions on mail-in voting, require same-day voter registration, and gut state voter identification laws.

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Rep. Buddy Carter Introduces Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory in the Military

Congressman Buddy Carter introduced a bill on Wednesday that would prohibit Critical Race Theory (CRT) teachings in the military and require a detailed report about CRT’s total usage. 

Carter’s legislation, the Military Education and Values Act, would require the Department of Defense to ban the usage of any teaching methodology that promotes or causes a racial divide or lack of equality and reinstate all service members on the core tenets of the United States military.

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Vernon Jones Returns to Georgia, Describes Arizona Ballot Audit, How Joe Biden’s Policies Enable Drug Cartels

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones just returned from Arizona where he observed an audit of ballots from the November 2020 presidential election and also witnessed up-close what he said was a calamity at the U.S.-Mexico border. Jones talked to The Georgia Star News Thursday. He said a firm overseeing the audit has done a thorough and professional job that leaves little room to allow mistakes. Jones did not name the firm.

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Georgia Lawmakers Tour Arizona Election Audit

Georgia state Senators Burt Jones (R-Jackson) and Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) traveled to Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday to tour the ongoing Maricopa County ballot audit.

The two are examining the process behind the audit after a similar audit was originally allowed to be completed in Georgia. However, since the initial ruling, many officials have attempted to stop the audit.

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Mike Collins Launches Campaign to Replace Jody Hice

Michael Collins

Mike Collins, former candidate for Congress and trucking executive, officially launched his campaign on Tuesday to represent Georgia’s 10 Congressional District.

The seat which Collins is aiming for is being vacated by Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA-10). Hice, instead of running for reelection to Congress, has decided to begin a primary challenge attempt against embattled Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. 

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Georgia GOP Establishment Leaders Continue to Mishandle Fulton County Chairmanship Race, Members Say

A supporter of Susan Opraseuth’s said Tuesday the candidate does not have a database of 330 delegates she needs as she campaigns to replace Fulton County Republican Party incumbent chair Trey Kelly — but she’s supposed to. Party members said this election pits Kelly, an establishment Republican, against Opraseuth, who strongly supports former U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Greater Georgia Launches Ads to Boost Turnout in State House Race to Replace Bert Reeves

Greater Georgia members have launched a digital ad campaign to boost voter turnout for the special election for State House District 34, which includes Marietta. Group members said the ad highlights “the Radical Left’s misinformation campaign that cost Cobb County countless jobs and a $100-million opportunity.”

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GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Vernon Jones Files Amicus Brief in Lawsuit Against MLB

Vernon Jones, former state lawmaker and GOP candidate for Governor, filed a Amicus Brief in the Georgia lawsuit against Major League Baseball.

According to a tweet by Jones, the Brief is in support of a lawsuit filed by the Job Creators Network for damages lost in response to the decision to move the MLB All-Star Game from Atlanta. The MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred decided to pull the game because he claimed the new law restricted voting access.

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Georgia GOP Censures Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

The Georgia Republican Party passed a motion on Saturday at their state convention to formally censure current Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

“A censure is about as strong as it gets out of here, other than our votes at the ballot box which is the most important censure of all,” added Mike Crane, District 3 Chairman of the state party, before reading the language of the censure. 

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Facebook Forks over $75K to Georgia State for Anti-Racist Virtual Reality Simulation

Girl with VR headset on

Facebook gave Georgia State University $75,000 to create a narrative film experience about racism.

Georgia State University’s School of Public Health received the grant from Facebook Reality Labs — the technology company’s virtual reality arm — to “create a narrative film that will be an immersive and interactive online platform for combating racial injustice.”

The initiative is meant to “increase viewers’ empathy and enhance their understanding of racism and structural inequality” through augmented and virtual reality technologies.

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Buckhead Grapples With Another Violent Weekend as City Officials Campaign to Leave Atlanta

View of Buckhead, Georgia

Buckhead, already trying to formally break away from the City of Atlanta so they can address an out-of-control crime wave using their own resources, had another violent weekend, including a murder. According to the Atlanta Police Department’s (APD’s) website, someone shot a man Saturday as he jogged through the 1200 block of West Wesley Road in Buckhead.

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Kemp Suspends Embattled Mayor After Fraud, Identity Theft Charges

Gregory Carswell Jr.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has suspended Waynesboro Mayor Gregory Carswell Jr. from office after the mayor’s indictment on felony fraud, forgery and theft charges.

Carswell, an evangelical pastor, was elected mayor of the city outside of Augusta in 2017. He was indicted in December on one count of identity fraud, one count of theft by taking, one count of theft by deception and one count of forgery in the second degree. Carswell announced May 17 he was taking a leave of absence as mayor because of his legal troubles and personal issues.

“Of course, you know we have legal issues that are going on, and we want to deal with those, and we want the citizens to have the full confidence and trust and knowing the people they elected are going to do the best things for them,” Carswell said at the May 17 city council meeting.

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Booed at State GOP Convention in Jekyll Island

Governor Brian Kemp booed

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp spoke to members of the state GOP at their convention in Jekyll Island Saturday, but few people in the crowd of about 2,000 heard what the governor had to say. That’s because so many people in the room drowned Kemp’s words out with almost-deafening boos.

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Prioritizes Gender Neutral Restrooms

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will soon sign an administrative order directing the city’s Department of Enterprise Assets Management (DEAM) to designate all single-occupancy restrooms within city facilities as gender neutral. This, according to the order that Bottoms will sign later this month. The Georgia Star News obtained a copy on Friday from Atlanta Director of LGBTQ Affairs Malik Brown.

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Georgia Agriculture Secretary to Run for Senate

Georgia Agriculture Secretary Gary Black became the most prominent Republican to enter the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in an attempt to take on Sen Raphael Warnock (D-GA).

Black is currently serving his third term as the Agriculture Secretary and has spent decades in the farming industry. Through his past experiences, Black has developed a strong coalition of rural voters.

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Georgia Board of Education Formally Opposes Critical Race Theory

Classroom of students.

Members of the Georgia Board of Education voted Thursday to formally oppose teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the state’s K-12 classrooms. Board members, according to their resolution, described beliefs such as CRT as “concepts that impute fault, blame, a tendency to oppress others, or the need to feel guilt or anguish to persons solely because of their race or sex.”

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Georgia Republican Announces Run to Succeed Jody Hice in Congress

A self-described conservative businessman and political outsider has announced he wants to succeed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA-10) in Congress. Candidate Matt Richards, in an emailed press release, said he is “a pro-Trump businessman who went from sleeping on a dirt floor to owning his own multi-million dollar demolition company in Atlanta.”

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Georgia Republicans Demand Brian Kemp Seek Forensic Audit of 2020 Election

Republicans throughout Georgia have asked Gov. Brian Kemp to convene a special session of the state legislature so that independent parties can conduct a forensic audit of the state’s November 2020 presidential election. These Republicans sent an open letter to the people of Georgia, which they forwarded to The Georgia Star News Thursday.

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David Ralston Might Run for Georgia U.S. Senate Seat

Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) might run for the U.S. Senate next year, although he said he hasn’t decided for certain. Ralston appeared on Georgia Public Broadcasting late last week and praised U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Ralston also said the country’s current direction troubles him. If he does serve in the U.S. Senate then he said his tenure as Georgia Speaker of the House will help guide him.

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MLB Sued for Moving All Star Game from Atlanta

A Texas nonprofit is suing Major League Baseball (MLB) after the league moved its 2021 All Star game from Atlanta to Denver, Colorado in protest over a recently-implemented voter ID law.

“A 21-page lawsuit by conservative small-business advocacy organization Job Creators Network, filed Monday in federal court in New York, demands the immediate return of the game to Atlanta and $100 million in damages to local and state small businesses,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “The suit also seeks $1 billion in punitive damages.”

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Georgia Revenue Commissioner Launches Congressional Campaign

David Curry

David Curry, Georgia’s Revenue Commissioner, is launching a congressional bid in an effort to replace Representative Jody Hice (R-GA-10). 

Curry announced his intent to enter the contest for the 10th Congressional District on Tuesday via a video posted to his Facebook page. 

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Anonymous Delta Airlines Employee Says Company Has Gone Woke, Blasts CEO Ed Bastian

delta

Delta Airlines officials did not confirm Tuesday whether they received a letter from an anonymous company employee with two decades of experience who is reportedly angry about CEO Ed Bastian and the company’s Woke culture. Delta officials did not return The Georgia Star News’ request for comment before Tuesday’s stated deadline.

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Vernon Jones Tells Brian Kemp to Investigate Mysterious Fulton County Warehouse Break-In

The apparent break-in at the Fulton County warehouse where officials were storing ballots for a pending audit has prompted Georgia gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones to demand an official investigation. “This report, if true, is deeply concerning and needs to be independently investigated at once. I am calling on Governor Kemp to immediately order an investigation into this matter by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation,” Jones told supporters Monday in an emailed statement.

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Robins Air Force Base in Georgia Announces New Missions to Counter China, Russia, and Iran

U.S. Air Force in flight

The U.S. Air Force has announced plans to bring four new missions, including new aircraft, to Robins Air Force Base (AFB), in Houston County, Georgia, beginning fiscal year 2022. This according to a press release that Robins’ AFB officials published this week.

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Georgia Lawmakers to Study Crime in Atlanta

Police line do not cross tape

Georgia lawmakers will study the rise in crime in Atlanta this summer.

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee plans to hold a series of hearings to look at the causes and solutions for the increase in crime in the state’s capital city.

“We want to have productive hearings that can get down to exactly what’s going on because, as you all know, the success of the city of Atlanta is directly impacted by the success of Georgia and vice versa,” Committee Chair J. Collins, R-Villa Rica, said.

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Georgia AG Chris Carr Prosecutes Former Pickens County Judge for Public Corruption

Attorney General Chris Carr

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced this month that the office’s Prosecution Division has concluded its case against Judge William “Allen” Wigington, a former Chief Magistrate Judge in Pickens County. Wigington was found guilty of one count of racketeering, three counts of fourth-degree forgery, five counts of theft by taking, 39 counts of unauthorized use of a financial transaction card, and one count of violation of oath of office. In total, his crimes amounted to 44 felonies and five misdemeanors. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He will serve five years in custody, followed by the remainder on probation.

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U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk Earns ‘Taxpayer Super Hero’ Award from Citizens Against Government Waste

The CAGW has evaluated every Congressional member’s voting record on how they voted on issues to eliminate waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in government, and protecting hardworking taxpayers. This, according to an emailed newsletter that Loudermilk emailed late last week.

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U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter Wants Wuhan Lab Investigated

On Sunday U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA-01) announced that he co-signed a letter to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and demanded investigations into the Wuhan lab. Carter, in a newsletter he emailed to constituents Sunday, said “China allowed this virus to spread and they need to be held accountable” and that “we need to fully understand what happened and make sure it never happens again”. 

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Georgia Secures AAA Bond Rating in 2021

Gov. Brian P. Kemp this week announced Georgia has again secured the highest ratings of AAA with a stable outlook from each of the three main credit rating agencies: FitchRatings, Moody’s Investors Service, and S&P Global Ratings. This, according to a press release that members of Kemp’s staff published on his website.

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Jody Hice Outlines How Joe Biden Makes Federal Government Less Efficient After COVID-19

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA-10) told constituents in an email Thursday that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated several longstanding problems and created more than a few new ones within the federal government. “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for example, has a tremendous backlog of millions of income tax returns waiting to be processed, leading to lengthy delays in refunds and stimulus checks to many Americans. Another case is the State Department, which is taking 10 to 12 weeks to process even a simple passport application. Perhaps the worst example is the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), a little known but critical agency responsible for the military service records needed for veterans to receive care from the VA. As of April, the backlog for veterans’ records is roughly 500,000 and may take up to two years to clear. Unreal!” Hice wrote.

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Atlanta City Council Member Who Tried to Defund the Police Loses Mercedes to Child Car Thieves

An Atlanta City Council member who tried to defund the police of millions of dollars last year called 911 Wednesday to report that four people stole his 2016 Mercedes. That man, Antonio Brown, told a 911 dispatcher the car thieves consisted of four children.

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U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter Tells Joe Biden About Intellectual Property Concerns with China

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA-01) and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16) this month wrote U.S. President Joe Biden expressing concerns about the president’s support for waiving Intellectual Property (IP) protections related to the COVID-19 vaccines. This, according to a newsletter that Carter emailed his constituents.

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Gov. Kemp to Ban Mask Mandates in Schools

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced that he will take action to prevent public schools across the state from implementing mask mandates for students. 

Kemp announced on Wednesday that he will sign an executive order to prevent the mandates. However, though not required, Kemp highlighted that students will be allowed to wear a mask if they choose to do so. 

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Judge Halts Audit of Georgia Ballots

A judge in Georgia is temporarily stopping the audit on absentee ballots in Fulton County, Georgia that was allowed earlier last week.

Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero, the same judge who granted the initial audit, ruled as officials within the county have filed numerous motions in an attempt to stop the audit. 

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Georgia Elections Director to Leave Position

Chris Harvey, the elections director within the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, has decided to leave the agency for a different position. 

Harvey oversaw the 2020 elections and was responsible for implementing a new voting system and machines in the state of Georgia.

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Certain Details Emerge About Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan’s Book with Simon and Schuster

Booksellers are scheduled to release a book later this year that Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan wrote about reforming the Republican Party, but details about how much money Duncan will make were unavailable Wednesday. Members of Duncan’s staff as well as publishers at the New York-based Simon and Schuster did not return The Georgia Star News’ emailed requests for comment before Wednesday’s stated deadline.

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Georgia State Senator Miller Launches Campaign for Lieutenant Governor

One of the highest ranking Republicans in the state legislature, State Senator Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), is running for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia.

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Miller said his campaign will focus on conservative principles and policies that have been championed in the state.

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Georgia Election Official Gabriel Sterling Complains ‘Trump Supporter-ish Kind of People’ Behind Fulton County Vote Audit

One of Georgia’s top election officials said “Trump supporter-ish kind of people” prompted the audit of Fulton County’s absentee ballots, and he also suggested those individuals are biased and cannot inspect ballots in an honest manner. That man, Gabriel Sterling, is Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s chief operating officer.

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Gov. Kemp Bans Vaccine Passports in Georgia

Passport

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order on Tuesday banning the use of vaccine passports throughout the state. 

The order explicitly states that no state agency, provider of state services, or state property is allowed to implement any vaccine passport program or require proof of vaccination in order to enter the premises of a location or conduct business. Additionally, vaccination will not be required to enter the state of Georgia.

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Brad Raffensperger Says ‘Facts’ Will Help Him with Voters During Next Year’s Reelection Campaign

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said this past weekend that he expects to perform well within the Peach State as he seeks reelection. But his campaign staff remained mum Monday when asked whether supporters of Donald Trump will overlook his and staff members’ past actions against the former president.

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State Sen. Burt Jones Says Fulton County Election Audit May Require Georgia Bureau of Investigation Involvement

Georgia State Senator Burt Jones

If an audit of absentee ballots that Fulton County officials tallied during the 2020 presidential election produces any irregularities then the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) must step in, said one state legislator. State Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) told The Georgia Star News Monday that if the audit proves any irregularities than that means one or more people committed fraud in last year’s election.

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University System of Georgia Reinstates ACT, SAT Requirement

Reading and English exam booklet

The University System of Georgia is requiring for next school year’s round of admissions either ACT or SAT test scores from all applying students.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Get Schooled Blog reports that this is part of a larger push by the system to firmly return Georgia’s schools to the pre-COVID status quo.

The system said in a statement that it had “asked all campuses to plan for resuming normal operations for the Fall 2021 semester.”

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U.S. Rep Austin Scott Says Biden Administration Closed Georgia ICE Facility Under False Pretenses

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas ordered the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency to discontinue using its Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, but a congressman said it closed based on a lie. Mayorkas directed ICE to abandon the facility late last week.

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