Fighting illegal immigration has been a hot button issue in the race for Gwinnett Commission Chairman. Incumbent Charles Bannister sent out a press release a few days ago urging Sheriff Butch Conway to participate in the so called 287(g) program I blogged about here.
After previously resisting, the Sheriff today said he would participate in the program:
“I want to do it, and I think we can do it with 18 (deputies),” Conway said, adding that he was furious Bannister once again brought the issue to the media before talking to him about it. “If Mr. Bannister will put his money where his mouth is, I think we can get this going in the next few months.”
Conway said he believed the program would cost between $2 and $3 million in 2008, but its implementation hinges on relief of the jail’s overcrowded conditions. To qualify, the jail must meet federal standards, which include not having inmates sleep on mats on the floor.
Meanwhile challenger Lorraine Green has been pushing an ordinance requiring county contractors to certify their employees are legal:
The County Commission will hold a public hearing next Tuesday on changes to the law designed to address concerns of county contractors, who said the ordinance violated federal law. The law would receive final consideration a week later, Green said.
“This will still be stronger than federal law, although not as strong as we would have liked,” Green said.
County attorney Karen Thomas said negotiations are still under way. Charles Surasky, the attorney for the contractor groups, declined to comment, citing ongoing negotiations.
The full scope of the proposed changes to be introduced next week was not immediately available.
It’s tough out there for an illegal (in Gwinnett at least).