Skip to comments.One year later, what the numbers say 287 (g) (Gwinnett County GA)
Posted on 11/17/2010 2:24:02 PM PST by Dacula
LAWRENCEVILLE As of Tuesday, the controversial 287 (g) program meant to grease the deportation process had been active for a year in Gwinnett, and its impact appears to be significant.
Most telling among the fertile, statistical soil that 287 (g) has sown is this number: 28 percent.
Thats how much the total number of foreign-born jail bookings has dropped since 287 (g) was activated on Nov. 16, 2009. Thats 4,289 fewer inmates compared to the previous year. The cost to house an inmate is $45 per day, meaning the county saved roughly $130,000 for each day those inmates werent incarcerated.
The programs doing exactly what we wanted it to do, said Sheriff Butch Conway, who championed 287 (g) before its local launch. I think its had a profound effect on the population of illegal aliens in Gwinnett.
But detractors say the programs negative impact cant be measured in statistics. Numbers cant be applied to a collectively lower sense of security and fear of authorities among immigrant groups, they argue.
The crimes of the 3,062 inmates detained for federal immigration authorities have ranged from child molestation and rape (none have been charged with murder) to DUI and city ordinance violations.
Records show those immigrants hail from Africa and countries such as Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Jamaica, Honduras and Panama, among others. Roughly 2⁄3 are from Mexico. A handful come from westernized European countries like France (3 inmates) and Germany (2).
At its roots, 287 (g) is a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act passed in 1995 that allows state and local law enforcement agencies to be trained to identify illegal immigrants and turn them over to federal authorities.
Gwinnett is the largest of four Georgia counties participating; Cobb, Hall and Whitfield counties are the others.
Even prior to its activation, the program drew the ire of immigrant rights supporters who staged rallies and summits in Gwinnett decrying it. They contend it encourages racial profiling and discourages immigrants from reporting crimes, in fear of being deported.
Supporters, like Conway and other high-ranking government officials, hail the program as a means to ease jail crowding and save the county millions, while pulling law-breakers by the hundreds from streets and neighborhoods.
The Gwinnett County Sheriffs Department had no means to determine which inmates were legal or not prior to 287 (g). But they did keep tally of foreign-born inmates arrested in Gwinnett, whose numbers rose steadily from 13,151 in 2007, to a high of 15,333 in 2009.
In the last year, just 11,044 foreign-born inmates were booked.
Jerry Gonzalez, director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, thinks thats indicative of a breakdown in trust between the immigrant community and police. The 287 (g) program has been detrimental to public safety, he said.
Immigrants are still there, but theyre being extra vigilant and, it seems to me, avoiding any contact with law enforcement, Gonzalez said. When a crime happens, or when victims of domestic violence are abused, immigrants are not coming forward.
A recent rash of armed robberies near Norcross could illustrate Gonzalezs point.
Gwinnett police investigating the crimes at apartment complexes in recent weeks found that residents were reluctant to interface with police or report the robberies in the first place in fear of deportation.
In a plea for public tips, Gwinnett police assured residents they had no legal authority to enforce deportation proceedings.
But Conway said the drop in foreign-born bookings could indicate that some have simply left Gwinnett or are being wiser about avoiding arrest.
Of those still here, I think a fewer number of them are driving without a license, he said.
Opponents of 287 (g) have argued the program allows uniformed officers to racially profile drivers as a means to deport them.
Of 3,034 Gwinnett inmates detained so far for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, 469 were arrested on charges of driving without a license alone.
The majority of those inmates were brought to jail only after being sentenced in other courts, said Sheriffs Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais.
Well never know how many lives have been saved on Gwinnett roads because of (the program), said D.A. King, founder of The Dustin Inman Society, which criticizes government enforcement of illegal immigration measures.
In addition to safety, King believes 287 (g) has proven to be a great deterrent for more illegals to move in and steal American jobs, he said.
Erik Meder, a Cobb County attorney who filed a potential class-action lawsuit challenging the merits of 287 (g), has argued the opposite is true, especially in a sour economy.
Immigrants who would have left the county years ago with intentions of returning when job markets picked up now fear they wont get back in the country, Meder told the Daily Post recently.
Meder contends the program is unconstitutional because it delegates federal power to local authorities with insufficient oversight. His suit names no Gwinnett officials.
Conway said he has no changes planned with the way 287 (g) is operated by his 18 trained deputies. He said feedback has been positive around Georgia.
Were doing exactly what we were doing the day we started, and we hope to continue that, Conway said.
The Rev. Tracy Blagec, of Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment (ABLE), has staged several rallies and prayer vigils in opposition to 287 (g).
Blagec said ABLE partnered with other organizations to compile a report on racial profiling in Gwinnett that has been influential in recent Department of Homeland Security decisions. The group is working on statewide anti-racial profiling legislation, comprehensive immigration reform and stopping 287 (g) at national levels through administrative fixes, she said.
Were getting closer to protecting the civil rights of immigrants, but are nowhere near where we need to be in this country, Blagec said.
We like to go to a few different Chinese buffets in Gwinnet County, which besides Hispanics has a huge Asian population. One thing we notice while we are there is that when we have Hispanic families and Asian families sitting near us the children of the Asian families are almost all speaking perfect English while the Hispanic children speak Spanish. To me that sums up why Asians assimilate so successfully while Hispanics have problems.
Our Chinese restaurants go through a lot of young Chinese servers, and I sometimes find myself wondering about their status...
There was a bust not too long ago on staffing agencies that funneled illegals through the county. I will have to find the article.
I’m just glad the Mexicans have moved out of my neighborhood. They were riff-raff.
What about the savings for not having to send illegal immigrant children into our collectivist government indoctrination camps ( Oops! “pubic” schools)? That's more than $10,000 per year per kid! In some states its more than $20,000/year.
Honestly, I believe that if our county enforced illegal immigration laws we could close down at least one or two elementary schools and consolidate the middle and high schools.
WT you are so correct.
Where in the Hell is Gwinnett??
In the title - GA. That is Georgia for the government approved and educated. ...
Enforce the punishment of employers who hire illegals and require birth certificates to get any form of welfare and you get:
Schools - lower costs
Healthcare - hospitals would eventually see less emergency care services
Law enforcement/Jails - less crimes done and enforcement needed
Employment - lower unemployment numbers - yes illegals are doing jobs that Americans will do
If you read the title, you'll see that it's in the state of Georgia.
If you need help finding Georgia let me know.