December 31, 2008

Coming to Gwinnett County , Georgia: fewer illegal aliens because ENFORCEMENT WORKS

Posted by D.A. King at 12:27 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

Gwinnett begins fast-track deportations next monthBy ANDRIA SIMMONS , MARY LOU PICKEL

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hundreds of Gwinnett County inmates who are in the country illegally will be fast-tracked for deportation once federal immigration officials begin a 26-day “surge” to screen foreign nationals.

The surge will begin Jan. 12, with federal immigration officials working in 15-person teams from 6 a.m. to midnight at the Gwinnett jail, said Stacey Bourbonnais, spokeswoman for the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department.

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The surge is the latest step in an effort to forge a partnership between the county and the federal government that would allow local jailers to begin deportation paperwork.

During the surge, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will check the immigration status of all foreign-born inmates booked into the jail regardless of their claim to citizenship. Inmates here illegally will be processed for removal to their home country, Bourbonnais said.

Gwinnett has been waiting since March for approval from ICE to begin training deputies to flag illegal immigrants who are arrested — no matter the offense — for deportation.

“This hopefully will bring us one step closer in getting the green light on that program and will give ICE an idea of the approximate numbers they would be receiving from our jail,” said Gwinnett Sheriff Butch Conway. “I’m very pleased that ICE has committed these resources to Gwinnett County and our citizens.”

The Sheriff’s Department currently does not track inmates’ immigration status, but it does count which ones are foreign-born. So far this year, 14,084 foreign nationals have been booked into the jail, and department officials estimate that about 60 percent of them are here illegally.