WHAT IS THE 287(g) PROGRAM?
The 287(g) program allows Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputies who are specially trained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to interview foreign-born arrestees charged with a crime and brought to our jail to determine if the arrestee is in the country legally. ICE covers the cost of training as well as travel, housing, meals, and administrative supplies during training.
If the arrestee is illegally in the US, these deputies can place a hold on the arrestee and they can be released to ICE custody within 48 hours of satisfying any local charges they face.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE PROGRAM?
287(g) SAVES TAXPAYERS MONEY
The average daily jail population began to steadily decrease once the program was implemented, which saves taxpayers money. The average daily jail population was as follows:
2010 – 2,654 2015 – 2,005
2011 – 2,590 2016 – 1,983
2012 – 2,467 2017 – 2,295
2013 – 2,180 2018 – 2,260
2014 – 2,183 2019 – 2,097 (currently)
Housing inmates comes at a cost to taxpayers. At the estimated cost of $63.25 per day to house an inmate, this expense adds up quickly and taxpayers are footing the bill.
Our average daily jail population today is 557 fewer inmates than in 2010 when the program began. The reduced jail population has saved millions of dollars each year and eliminated our former practice of paying other facilities to house our inmates due to lack of space.
Interestingly, while Gwinnett’s 2010 population was an estimated 805,321 (US Census) and the current Gwinnett population is estimated to be 973,693 (Woods & Poole), the average daily jail population has decreased despite the population increase.
287(g) PROMOTES PUBLIC SAFETY
The 287(g) program serves as a deterrent to criminal illegal aliens who avoid our county because they know if they’re arrested for any reason, they can be deported. This program only applies to illegal aliens arrested and brought to the Gwinnett County Jail.
287(g) HELPS RESCUE VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Our 287(g) deputies receive critical training by ICE to assist them in identifying victims of human trafficking during the 287(g) screening process. Our program has identified numerous suspected human trafficking victims and the information obtained is forwarded to federal and state agencies for investigation
WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE SUPPORT THIS PROGRAM?
The issue of immigration enforcement is a widely debated issue nationwide, with varied opinions on how illegal aliens should be addressed.
ALLEGATION: Immigrants are victimized by the program.
RESPONSE: The 287(g) program focuses only on illegal aliens brought to the jail, allowing ICE agents to focus their attention on communities where they receive no assistance through a 287(g) agreement. If our 287(g) program ended today, ICE would track illegal aliens released into the community, leading to arrests of friends, family and co-workers who have not violated our state laws.
Additionally, considerations are given to every arrestee screened in our jail:
- A language guide is used to establish the language the arrestee speaks so the proper language interpreter is utilized to ensure proper two-way communication.
- Each arrestee receives a list of legal services available to them.
- Each arrestee is provided a consulate notice in the event they wish for us to contact their consulate on their behalf.
- Each arrestee is provided with a privacy notice which provides information of their whereabouts to family and friends.
- Each arrestee is provided with a complaint form detailing the process to file a complaint if they feel they’ve been treated unfairly in any way. The same information is posted in English, Spanish and Chinese in every 287(g) office.
The Sheriff’s Office has not received a complaint in the nine years of operating the 287(g) program.
ALLEGATION: The program is unfriendly to immigrants and they’re afraid to call the police.
RESPONSE: The 287(g) program only pertains to arrestees in jail.
- Educating the immigrant community can reduce baseless fear. Some media and special interest groups provide misleading information about how the 287(g) program operates.
- Only our specially trained deputies can screen inmates in the jail for their immigration status.
- No person in Gwinnett County should be afraid to seek law enforcement services for any reason.
- Law enforcement services are available to anyone in Gwinnett, regardless of their citizenship.
ALLEGATION: No one should be deported for driving without a license or a traffic violation.
RESPONSE: No one has ever been deported for driving without a license or a traffic violation.
- People are only deported because they do not have legal authority to be in the country, which is a violation of federal law.
- The 287(g) screening process is applied fairly and impartially, whether an arrestee is charged with a traffic violation or murder.
- Regardless of where they’re born or their immigration status, many people who are arrested and brought to the Gwinnett County Jail have criminal histories. We see this often with people who are arrested on traffic violations as well as people charged with serious violent crimes. While it may seem that a traffic offense resulted in a driver being identified as an illegal alien and deported, there are often other factors involved that led to deportation.
ALLEGATION: Immigrants are targeted for traffic stops.
RESPONSE: There is no credible evidence supporting this allegation.
- Gwinnett’s well-trained, diverse public safety workforce enforces the law equally, without regard to race, gender or any other demographic identity.
- Illegal aliens can’t be identified by appearance. Our 287(g) deputies have placed detainers on citizens from 134 out of 195 different countries.
- Police officers have no way of knowing a driver’s immigration status.
- Police officers often cannot discern a driver’s race or even gender when they observe a traffic violation.
- Traffic stops are arguably the most common police encounters nationwide.
- In recent years, the number of drivers arrested in our county for driving without a license or on a suspended license has decreased. If officers were profiling drivers, this number would likely increase, not decrease, especially considering our population has steadily increased.
- 2007 – 11,146 2008 – 11,039
- 2009 – 11,947 2010 – 8,881
- 2011 – 8,628 2012 – 7,369
- 2013 – 7,383 2014 – 7,231
- 2015 – 6,852 2016 – 6,034
- 2017 – 5,346 2018 – 5,407
NOTE: This excellent article was provided by Deputy Shannon Volkodav, Public Information Officer, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, and has been reposted with her permission.