Illegal immigrant, back in jail, now faces deportation

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Thanks to the 287(g) program, officials said, an illegal alien who was released from jail after being arrested for burglary and battery in March -- now accused of a New Year's Day aggravated assault -- will face deportation.

According to reports, 21-year-old Juan Manuel Catalan, of Buford, was arrested Monday at his Buford home for allegedly striking a man on the head with a knife in the Jan. 1 incident.

A Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman said Catalan, a Mexico native, was found inside the Power Avenue apartment hiding in a back bedroom.

On March 17, Catalan was arrested for simple battery and robbery but posted an $8,100 bond two days later, records show.

At that time, the 287(g) program had yet to be implemented (it began on Nov. 16) and only one Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was on hand to screen inmates randomly.

Now, 18 deputies trained in the program screen everyone who is booked into the facility.

Conway believes the relatively new program is paramount in preventing illegals from slipping through the cracks of the judicial system.

"This is exactly why we needed 287(g)," said Sheriff Butch Conway. "It's doing what it is designed to do: identifying criminals that are illegally here in our country."