DEAR EDITOR:

I am writing in opposition to the 287(g) program which deputizes our Cobb County Sheriff’s Department to act as immigration agents under the direction of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It is a costly choice for Cobb County. This program is one of the most significant ways community members end up in ICE custody, often for minor infractions, if any at all. This program affects the Cobb taxpayer in three ways: It separates families, wastes local resources and increases racial profiling.

It separates families because the head of the household, a hard working individual, is taken away from the family. Children, many of whom are lawful citizens of the United States, are left without a dad or mom and the family is thrown into crisis, with reduced income and depressed spending. This lowers the economic and tax contribution immigrant families are already making to Cobb County. So why, for minor infractions, do we take the drastic step of destroying a family by incarcerating a responsible parent who is just trying to support his/her family?

It wastes local resources because the Cobb County Sheriff directs funds needed for law enforcement in our local community to pay for the costs associated with travel, housing, and per diem for 287(g) officers during training, overtime, and other administrative costs. Cobb County is not effectively reimbursed for these costs.

The 287(g) program increases racial profiling. A 2011 ACLU study noted that those targeted by arrest and detained are primarily of Latin American heritage. Participation in 287(g) contributes to sheriff’s officers engaging in racial profiling and human rights violations, leading to increased costs for Cobb county, distrust of local law enforcement, and aggravated risk to immigrant communities. The people targeted by 287(g) are not criminals, they are hard working individuals contributing to the state’s economy. Why destroy families?

María D. Benítez

Marietta

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