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Accusations Of Racial Profiling In Georgia Jails

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The Sheriff of Cobb County Neil Warren was the first in Georgia to make use of the authority of 287(g) which gives access to tools to determine if some detainees of the Cobb County Jail in Marietta are American citizens or are here illegally. Accusations are that his agency engages in racial profiling though the number of deportees to their credit is impressive.

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How Counties Get The Authority And What They Do With It

Being critisized as a way to allow racial profiling, the purpose of 287(g), which is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, is to assist designated officers of state and local agencies to perform immigration enforcement functions provided that the local officers receive appropriate training and operate under the supervision of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. Since the Sheriff first started participating in 2007 there have been thousands of detainees turned over to Immigration authorities but very few counties in the state follow his lead, only 3 others out of 159 in the entire state.

An immigration arrest

Racial profiling is commonly what happens when a particular race or nationality is singled out by their skin color, accent or physical features. In the Marietta Daily Journal the Sheriff was quoted as saying “We’re not profiling and we’re not arresting individuals because they’re illegal,” Warren said. “I wish I could and I wish I had authority, but I don’t.”

The most publicized of the alleged offenses were later justified by way of evidence against the perpetrators was the case of two individuals who had rented a car using a fake North Carolina drivers license and eventually caused an accident that left a correctional officer dead. The Deputy who was killed, Loren Lilly, was on his way to work at the jail.

Another case that got national attention involved a college student Jessica Colotl who was brought to the United States by her parents at 10 years old. She was pulled over by campus police for "impeding the flow of traffic" then arrested for driving without a license. She was later found to have an expired Mexican passport which prompted the check of her citizenship. After being handed over to Immigration then later released, she was rearrested on a Cobb County warrant for providing a false address on immigration forms during her original arrest, an address that County officials verified she never lived at.

Although Sheriff Warren jokes about being shunned his contemporaries, there are only 23 other states with counties that have applied and actively participate in 287(g) activities.

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