Georgia could see expansion in immigration enforcement program


Georgia’s Corrections Department and authorities in Bartow and Floyd counties have applied to team up with federal deportation officers through an immigration enforcement program promoted by President Donald Trump, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

At issue is the federal 287(g) program — named after the section of the 1996 federal law that authorizes it — which deputizes state and local officials to help enforce federal immigration laws. The program gives them the authority to investigate, apprehend, detain and transport people facing deportation.

In an executive order he issued in January, Trump called for an expansion of the program. And in July, Immigration Customs Enforcement announced 18 new 287(g) agreements across Texas, bringing the nationwide total to 60. Four other counties in Georgia, Cobb, Gwinnett, Hall and Whitfield, already participate.

Supporters of the program say it is a “force multiplier” that helps expedite the deportation of people with criminal convictions and deters others from coming to their communities. Critics say it promotes racial profiling, erodes the trust immigrants have in police and distracts officers from more important crime-fighting duties. In 2012, the Obama administration announced it was terminating the “task force” part of the program in which police helped with street-level immigration enforcement in Georgia and other states.

A spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Corrections said ICE approached officials at her agency about the program, saying it would help “streamline their processes.”

“In April 2017, our agency met with ICE and discussed the specifics of the program and we were advised that if we were interested in implementing the program, that we would need to submit a letter to participate,” Georgia Corrections Department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan said in an email. “On September 26th, our agency submitted a request to participate.”

Bartow Sheriff Clark Millsap confirmed his office has asked to join the program.

“We have been interested in the 287g program as another tool for use in law enforcement,” he said in an email. “I see it as a way of being more proactive as the sheriff of Bartow County.”

Officials at the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office had no immediate comment. The Rome News-Tribune reported that Floyd Sheriff Tim Burkhalter previously applied in 2007.

RELATED: Immigration enforcement program could be expanded in Georgia, Carolinas

ICE spokesman Bryan Cox declined to comment, citing an agency policy concerning pending 287(g) applications. Final decisions on applications are made at ICE headquarters in Washington, he said.

“Should any new 287(g) program be approved, the agency would publicly confirm at that time,” he said.

Azadeh Shahshahani, the legal and advocacy director for Project South, which advocates for immigrants, said she was disturbed by the possibility that the program could be expanded. In Georgia, she said, it has resulted in “decreased safety and security because communities of color and immigrants do not trust the police enough in 287(g) counties to report crimes.”


Next Up in Georgia Politics

Democrats aim for suburbs in Alabama ahead of Deep South votes
Democrats aim for suburbs in Alabama ahead of Deep South votes

Amanda Wilson has watched with a mix of glee and uncertainty as the imposing homes along this wealthy suburban town’s zigzagging streets has suddenly sprouted Democratic signs. “I’m a blue dot in a big red state,” said Wilson, a 64-year-old retiree. “But I don’t feel as lonely anymore.” Republican U.S. Senate...
Georgia Senate meetings will be live-streamed after Thanksgiving
Georgia Senate meetings will be live-streamed after Thanksgiving

Beginning the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, Georgians who are interested in watching state senators at work can live-stream committee meetings being held in the statehouse. Members of the Georgia Senate on Friday held a mock committee meeting led by Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, to test out the new wiring and equipment....
Atlanta mayor under fire amid debate over illegal immigration
Atlanta mayor under fire amid debate over illegal immigration

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is drawing fire from multiple sides in the hot-button debate over illegal immigration after recently announcing the city had joined a nationwide effort in finding legal help for immigrants facing deportation. When Reed announced the city’s new policy this month, he called Atlanta a “welcoming city that stands up...
The Right points to Franken as a symptom of the Left’s hypocrisy
The Right points to Franken as a symptom of the Left’s hypocrisy

The Right has always questioned Franken’s qualifications for the Senate. The revelations of sexual misconduct by the Minnesota  Democrat have added fuel to the fire. A roundup of editorials Friday takes a look at the issue. From The Boston Herald: It’s “physician heal thy self” when it comes to sexual harassment in Congress...
In the light of the news about Al Franken, will the Left own its own sexual misconduct issues?
In the light of the news about Al Franken, will the Left own its own sexual misconduct issues?

Will Sen. Al Franken’s conduct call into question Democrats’ commitment to championing women who have been sexually harassed? A roundup of editorials Friday takes a look at the issue. The Week: Do the Democrats take sexual harassment seriously? We’ll see. From The New Yorker: As the two apologies from Franken show, men still need...
More Stories