The Irwin County Detention Center, about 180 miles south of Atlanta, houses detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The detention center is a key part of the region’s economy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
About 200 jobs are tied to the facility, which is among the largest employers in the area.
“If it closes, then everybody loses their jobs ... and the inmates go back to wherever they came from, but we hope that it never gets to that,” said Joey Whitley, chairman of the Irwin Board of Commissioners.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals Service said her agency will make plans to move its 295 inmates to other locations if financial troubles put their safety in jeopardy. The inmates include men and women from Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The detention center also holds an average of 350 detainees a day for ICE. Some have already been ordered deported while others are still fighting in court to remain in the U.S. If the center in Ocilla is closed, those detainees will be sent to other ICE detention centers in Georgia, North Carolina or South Carolina, ICE officials said.