Cobb ignoring tool aimed at illegals

By D.A. KIng, Marietta Daily Journal, August 3, 2006

While the president and the U.S. Senate push for amnesty - again for illegal employers, bankers and aliens, many state and local governments around the nation are taking advantage of tools provided to them by Congress - 10 years ago - to fight illegal immigration themselves.

What a concept - American law enforcement enforcing American laws. The open borders/illegal alien lobby is having a cow. So are the drug-dealing gangs.

Section 287 (g) of the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act provides an opportunity to expand existing authority of state and local law enforcement agencies to enforce the immigration laws that have been so inadequately addressed by our federal government.

Under the language of existing law, a state or local government can enter into a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the feds and then send officers to a four to six week federal training program. The officers are then authorized to not only arrest and detain illegal aliens in the normal course of their duties, but also to investigate immigration violations and build a case for deportation - similar to how Mexico does it.

Here in Georgia, we should all be thankful to Gov. Perdue for recently having begun the process of using the 287(g) section of the 1996 law to train Georgia State troopers and effectively have them deputized by the feds to perform the duties of an immigration officer. We also should all be grateful to state Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) for including the requirement for 287 (g) implementation in the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act (SB 529) he authored that was passed by the Legislature this year.

This access to increased authority is not limited to governors or state police, as legislation is not required. Nationwide, city and county governments can, and are, obtaining the training that serves to multiply the intended effect of the under-staffed Immigration and Customs Enforcement. At around 2,000 agents, ICE is in desperate need of all the assistance it can find to deal with what many experts recognize to be more than 20 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. with little real fear of American law.

Put simply: Cops can make a difference in our community on illegal immigration.

We should be asking why our county and city governments in Georgia are not sending some of their police and deputies for the training and additional authority to deal with a crisis that Georgians will no longer ignore. According to the ICE "Fact Sheet" on 287 (g), any head of law enforcement or government has the ability to apply for the federally funded training (about $500 per officer). That includes police chiefs, sheriffs, county commission chairs and mayors.

Because of Gov. Perdue's action, state enforcement officers in Georgia will soon join their counterparts in Alabama, Arizona, California and Florida in becoming immigration crime-fighters. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 other states are considering similar action.

With illegal immigration out of control in the Peach State, it is time that Georgia counties and cities join the city of Costa Mesa and Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties in California, the Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) Sheriff's Office in North Carolina and others around our republic that are taking advantage of the law to protect their communities.

As a result of a recent Freedom of Information Act request for data on the results of using 287(g), Judicial Watch - a non-profit, public interest law firm - reports that "287(g)-trained law enforcement officers have accounted for 820 immigration-related arrests since the program began in 2002."

The 1996-vintage 287(g) program works. It will reduce not only the potential for additional crimes committed by people with no legal right to be in Georgia, but will also serve to convince them to relocate to places less likely to actually enforce the law.

We should ask our local elected officials why Mecklenburg County, N.C., is ahead of us on dealing with illegal immigration.

When is the next Cobb Board of Commissioners meeting again?

Read the complete article.

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