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Geovani Serrano, a Marietta resident who lives on Franklin Gateway, wears a shirt calling for the end of the federal 287(g) program as he speaks on the matter in front of Cobb commissioners Tuesday. Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren earlier this month announced his department’s continuation of its involvement with the program, which allows department personnel to be deputized to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

MARIETTA — Tuesday’s meeting of the Cobb Board of Commissioners was at least the third commission meeting in a row to feature at least one public speaker addressing the county’s involvement with the federal 287(g) program. But Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren earlier this month announced his department’s continuation of its involvement with the program, which allows department personnel to be deputized to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The sheriff’s department can check the immigration status of those in custody they suspect are in the country illegally. Warren previously said that in 2007, he had been the first sheriff in Georgia and the seventh in the nation to enter into a 287(g) agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Commissioners during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting heard from four community members who urged the county not to renew its involvement with the 287(g) program.

“This program has deteriorated the trust between law enforcement and the immigrant community,” said Geovani Serrano, a Marietta resident who lives on Franklin Gateway. “The 287(g) program allows police officers to racially profile us. Not only that, but it has also broken many families apart. We do believe in public safety — however, we want to have public safety that we can be secure with.”

But according to county spokesperson Ross Cavitt, county commissioners have no involvement in whether Warren or his department remains involved in the federal program.

“(T)his is an agreement between the Sheriff and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” Cavitt said in a county statement. “The Sheriff’s Office is a constitutionally mandated office in Georgia, and the Sheriff has a great deal of latitude when it comes to his budget and operations. Any decision about participating in the 287(g) program would be the Sheriff’s alone.”

Even though the Board of Commissioners voted in past years to acknowledge an agreement between the Sheriff’s Office and ICE, they have not taken any action on recent renewals, Cavitt said.

“It is not expected the Board will have any involvement with future decisions concerning continuing with the 287(g) program,” Cavitt added.

Glenn Daniel, a spokesman for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement to the MDJ that the 287(g) program “promotes public safety and serves as a deterrent to criminal illegal aliens who avoid our county because they know if they are arrested ICE will be notified.” He added that it “only applies to subjects arrested and brought to the Cobb County Adult Detention Facility.”

“Neither the sheriff’s office nor any local law enforcement official makes any decisions on who is to be deported. That decision is determined by ICE and the Federal Immigration Judges,” Daniel said. “We have seen a steady decline in the number of foreign nationals coming into our jail since we have started the 287(g) program.”

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(8) comments

alan scott

Why would any citizen have a problem with the Sheriff reporting illegal immigrants to ICE? Only 1 reason; They are illegal and have been arrested. The Sheriff is not hunting them down . If they have been arrested and are illegal, isn't it good for all citizens to investigate immigration status? Also, It's the duty of law enforcement to assist in reporting Federal crimes as well as state crimes. It would be a dereliction of duty to ignore federal law.What if they are a serial killer on the run? Keep up the good work sheriiff. Stay in the program. Keep illegals out.

ROSLYN WALTON

Amen!! [thumbup]

Rich the Equalizer Pellegrino

First of all NO ONE IS ILLEGAL (unless we all are). Most of us and our ancestors have been considered illegal or worse by the ruling elites at one time or another---isn't it time we grow up and call a human being a human being and not a derogatory label. Each case of someone who is undocumented in this country is an individual case, each with its own story---just like your and mine ancestors who came here so don't try to lump them into one group and characterize them as less than human, criminals, bad hombres, etc. That is utter nonsense and is just bigotry. Now, why shouldn't the Sheriff participate in such a program---why not ask the thousands of sheriffs, police chiefs, and other law enforcement agencies who refuse to participate---aren't they the professionals; don't they know that this program doesn't help and actually harms public safety? Doesn't law enforcement need the trust of the whole community in order to solve crimes and protect us...ask them (and the reason why the jail doesn't see as many undocumented individuals since the beginning of 287 G is because local law enforcement does not arrest them since then for minor crimes which could be handled otherwise---so the grandstanding out of date and out of touch sheriff and ICE can't get their hands on them. (Why: because undocumented immigrants everywhere in this country, as a community, are more law abiding than citizens---that's what all the statistics and studies show.)

alan scott

Don't rationalize illegal immigration with cutesy cliche's. Secondly, as usual the fallback line is calling your opposition a bigot then in the same breath immediately following that with a statement, "don't try to lump them into one group".Isn't that what you just did calling me a bigot? And yes, illegal immigrating is a violation of the law. You can spin it anyway you want, but it's still against the law to enter the country illegally or overstay a visa. And no, I've never been called illegal. I was born here. My ancestors came here legally through Ellis Island where they were vetted. Sneaking into the country clandestinley, using forged documents, trafficking of people are all serious crimes and cause a myriad of problems.You use worn out talking points to justify it and divert attention away from the fact that it's a crime to sneak into the country.The western states such as CA are overwhelmed with illegal immigrants draining billions of tax dollars.The reason the South American countries assist the illegal immigration is simple. Money.A few years ago when the records were reported, 24 billion US dollars were sent to S. American countries from their family members here, mostly to Mexico. 1 % of their GDP came from the us sent by immigrants.Hows that for a statistic? But besides all that, you can't have millions of undocumented, illegal immigrants running around. We don't know who they are, where they're from, and why they're here. If they want to come here, there are legal means.We cannot accept them all. If they don't want to go through the hoops to enter legally and they get caught, then that's on them.I'm glad to be living in a state that respects the law.I do not want this state to follow the downward spiral that CA has done over the last 30-40 years. It may be out of date and out of touch to follow the law, but thankfully they are and will continue to do so.GA is way better off than CA and their open borders policies.It's unsustainable to fund everyone that is able to make it into the country and then rewarding them with free medical care, free schools, welfare, food stamps and all kinds of taxpayer funded services. Now they are bankrupt. I don't want that here.

ROSLYN WALTON

That's ALL Rich knows HOW to do!! Constantly stirring a pot of "why me?", ALWAYS. Never ANYTHING positive. Same old same old. [sleeping] [censored]

Mark Redhorse

Your first sentence says it all. Not everyone is "illegal "..My peoples were here before this became the US and the illegal immigrants invading this country should ALL be turned around. As for the illegal immigrants already here, same thing...send them back. It's really simple: come here legally or be deported. I could care less about maintaining a "good relation" with illegals and law enforcement, that's just ignorance at the core. If you are here ileagally you have no rights except one, to be sent back across the border... I also don't care about statistics, they mean nothing. No person in this country illegally is a law abiding citizen period...that's like saying the criminal that got away after committing a crime is a law abiding citizen if he doesn't break the law anymore...give me a break.

Pat Berry

I think the program should be kept in place. when someone enters the country illegally they take from every American, especially the people who need the help of government services. Per reports there are American families, single mothers with children awaiting a place in low income housing, Section 8. They cannot get it because the government is allowing illegals to compete with these American families. My ancestors came to this country thru Ellis Island. I visited Ellis Island to see what our ancestors went thru to get into this country. Many were returned to the ships and sent home because they were sick. Some did not past other aspects of the legal requirements. We are a country of laws, and to allow people to come into this country illegally with the expectation they can stay is simply wrong. We are telling these people the American Citizen has to obey the laws of this country, but you do not. We are telling these people we will make an exception for you, you do not have to obey our laws. I agree with another writer I think we should send them all back, and if they want to come back legally, apply and do it the right way, otherwise, if you are unhappy with your country, then stay and fight for the same freedoms you are so willing to take advantage of, freedoms that American citizens have fought and died for, but most of you would rather steal from the American people. Stealing is exactly what you are doing when you receive all the benefits, medical, education, etc.

ROSLYN WALTON

Yes, yes, yes!!! Keep it in place!!! [thumbup]

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