Gwinnett Sheriff Butch Conway and Commission Chairman Charles Bannister have been arguing about immigration enforcement. Bannister wants the Sheriff’s Department to participate in an US Immigration program that trains deputies to begin the deportation process on illegal immigrants.
he doesn’t have the resources to designate the five or six deputies needed for the task. Last year, there were 60 deputy vacancies, and a request for more than 40 additional deputies to fill staffing needs in 2008 was shot down by commissioners due to budget constraints, Conway said Wednesday.
“At this point, I just don’t have the personnel to do it, even if I want to,” Conway said.
As the Sheriff admits, illegal immigration is going to be a big issue in this year’s race. Bannister’s proposal will be popular with voters upset about Gwinnett’s rather large illegal population. Recently Bannister’s opponent Lorraine Green attempted to craft an ordinance punishing county contractors who hire illegal immigrants. A Federal Judge got involved and the ordinance may be changed.
The Commission Chairman race in Gwinnett will likely be a hot one.
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