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Political Notebook: Everson to greet Cheney when VP arrives Monday in Georgia

When Vice President Dick Cheney arrives in Georgia on Monday, there will be a Gwinnettian to greet him.

State Rep. Melvin Everson, R-Snellville, was chosen as one of six people to meet Cheney when Air Force Two lands at Atlanta's airport.

"At this point, I don't know what I'll ask him, but I'll think of something by Monday," Everson said Friday. "I'm excited. I met the president and now the vice president, so it's a clean sweep for me."

Cheney will be the keynote speaker at the Georgia GOP's annual Presidents Day dinner.

Everson said he was honored by the invitation.

"I think he's very intelligent and has served this country well," he said of the vice president.

Chambliss, Isakson introduce immigration bill

Georgia's U.S. senators are working on addressing illegal immigration laws at the Capitol.

Last week, Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson unveiled bills to expand 287(g), the federal program Gwinnett officials are currently considering to give local law enforcement the power to begin deportation paperwork for illegal immigrants who have been arrested.

The Senate bill is similar to the "Charlie Norwood CLEAR Act," legislation first introduced by the late congressman Norwood, who represented much of northeast Georgia.

"There are so many cases that clearly show that state and local law enforcement are the front lines of combating crimes committed by illegal immigrants," Chambliss said. "During last year's immigration bill debate, we listened and heard overwhelmingly from the American people that they do not trust the federal government to enforce our immigration laws. Taking immediate action to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration is the best way to restore credibility with the American people. "

Other proposals in the act include:

· Clarifying the authority to enforce federal immigration laws during the normal course of duty for state and local law enforcement officers.

· Offering a basic training course for all state and local law enforcement officers.

· Compensating state and local entities for immigration enforcement-related expenses .

· Expanding the National Crime Information Center's Immigration Violators File to include aliens whose visas have been revoked or who have been ordered to leave the country.

"Every day, our state and local communities face the repercussions of a national immigration problem the federal government has looked the other way on for too long. This bill is essential to giving state and local law enforcement the common-sense means to be successful partners with federal immigration officials," Isakson said. "There's no greater domestic issue in this country than the problems on our southern border with Mexico, and it is time that Congress makes a commitment to make border security a reality. It is time we stop making promises. It is time we start delivering solutions."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.