Gwinnett County (Georgia) Sheriff Butch Conway: “The concept that I should stop a program that deports illegal aliens who have committed crimes in our community defies logic”
Statement received here today from Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway regarding cooperation with federal immigration authorities and recent criticism that doing so is too costly, has an adverse effect on public safety and is bad for children.
“I gladly take advantage of every available tool, including the 287 (g) program, to serve and protect our community. I’m grateful for the support of the federal government that has allowed our office to participate in this life-saving, crime-reducing 287(g) program under two different White House administrations.
It’s important to understand that the illegal alien population in our jail has been reduced as a direct result of the 287(g) program. I’m confident that we have saved tax dollars in many ways and reduced crime by participating in this program.
In regard to the cost of locating and reporting illegal aliens in our jail who have committed additional crimes, we point to the results of the original 2009 trial “surge” in the preparation for our 287(g) agreement. That process resulted in federal immigration enforcement officials identifying 914 foreign-born inmates in the Gwinnett County jail for deportation. This was conducted over a 26-day period.
As previously reported, 489 of the 914 inmates identified as illegal aliens had previous arrests. Some had been arrested and booked numerous times in our jail alone. Charges for these foreign inmates included, but are not limited to:
Murder 13 Felony drug offense 154
Rape 15 Theft of motor vehicle 7
Child molestation 23 DUI 48
Aggravated assault 38 Felony probation violation 42
Armed robbery 28 Hit and run 6
Kidnapping 11 Homicide by vehicle 1
Family violence battery 12 Other felony offenses 45
Burglary 17 Misdemeanor probation violation 55
Felony theft 34 No driver’s license 226
*** Please note that only the most serious charges are listed for inmates with multiple charges.
I have no doubt that Gwinnett County is safer today because of the 287(g) program. There are dramatically lower numbers of foreign born individuals committing crimes in our county since the program began in November 2009.
During that year, our jail processed 14,730 foreign born arrestees.
That number dropped to 10,847 in 2010 and has consistently dropped since, ranging from 6,350 to 6,604 between 2011 and 2016. In July of 2009, our jail held 914 inmates with ICE holds. Yesterday there were 229 inmates with ICE holds. Additionally, our jail population has decreased while our county population has increased.
The concept that I should stop a program that deports illegal aliens who have committed crimes in our community defies logic. Our efforts have established Gwinnett County as an undesirable refuge for criminal illegal aliens and we want it to remain that way. I can’t help but wonder what the critics of such enforcement would say to the families of crime victims who were seriously injured or killed by illegal aliens.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, Georgia hosts more illegal aliens than Arizona. We know that enforcement works as a tool to make our state and county less attractive to more illegal immigration and we know that we are saving lives with 287(g) while honoring ICE detainers. I’m proud to do so.
I welcome people of all nationalities that come to America and obey our laws, but will continue my efforts to rid our community of those who do not.”