LAWRENCEVILLE - A political battle is brewing in Gwinnett over illegal
Chairman Charles Bannister Friday called for Gwinnett's sheriff to train his
deputies to enforce immigration laws. He also asked the police chief to have
officers inquire about residency during an arrest.
"Gwinnett County has got to move the ball forward with the issue of illegal
immigration," Bannister said in a press release. He also called for revision
of the county's illegal immigration ordinance, which political opponent
Lorraine Green authored last summer.
The sheriff program, which has been implemented by Cobb County Sheriff Neil
Warren, would allow deputies to begin a deportation process for illegals in
For years, two ICE officers have been assigned to Gwinnett's jail, deporting
300 in the past year. Sheriff Butch Conway said he does not have the
personnel to dedicate his own staffers to the job, and he isn't convinced
that the program would help any more than the current situation.
"When I have the personnel, I'll entertain it, if it shows that it will
deport any more people than now," Conway said. "This is the worst case of
political pandering I've ever seen."
Green wants to solve the sheriff's personnel issue by increasing deputy pay
to that of police officers. She said the move to give the departments'
parity - which is expected to happen Wednesday - hinges on Conway's
consideration of the ICE program.
"It was part of the agreement when we looked into parity," she said.