DALLAS (AP) — Several Texas counties that are struggling with debt because their jails have few or no prisoners hope to refill those cellblocks with immigrants who have entered the country illegally.

As far back as the 1990s, some rural counties built large correctional centers that could be used to house inmates from other counties as well as prisoners for the state and federal governments. Then a decline in crime and an increase in alternative sentencing reduced the Texas prisoner population and created a glut of jail space.

Now counties must decide whether to seek a contract to house some of the immigrants expected to be detained in President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown, or whether to sell their vacant detention centers to private prison companies that aim to do the same.

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