This below is from a newspaper that happily published my immigration columns for more than a decade.
Archiving two Gwinnett Daily Post articles here in which that newspaper helps pass along the lies and smears from the discredited SPLC et al and one in which it helps a race-baiting politician get more signatures on a hate petition intended to discredit a law and order sheriff and to neuter my pro-enforcement efforts here in Georgia where we have more illegal aliens than green card holders. The Gwinnett illegal alien population is estimated by MPI to be about 72,000 – or about 8% of its total population.
Nobody, including the reporter, Isabel Hughes (“emerging journalist”) and the longtime editor, Todd Cline has ever contacted me in any way for comment on either of these articles. The kicker is that for eleven years I wrote pro-enforcement columns for the Gwinnett Daily Post, and they were published by the same editor, Todd Cline. All of those columns can be seen here.
Contact the GDP here.
Sparks fly at community meeting to discuss Gwinnett jail’s 287(g) immigration program
By Isabel Hughes isabel.hughes
Jul 31, 2019
“You’re a white supremacist!” one woman shouted from the back left side of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center auditorium.
“You’re a coward and a sorry little…” a man yelled several minutes later from the opposite back corner, leaving his sentence unfinished.
The comments, which were directed at two separate panelists, gave voice to tensions that, at times, ran high through GJAC’s auditorium Wednesday night during a “community engagement discussion” about the Gwinnett County Jail’s 287(g) program.
A partnership between state or local law enforcement and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, that allows local jurisdictions to receive delegated authority for immigration enforcement, 287(g) has been a controversial issue in Gwinnett in recent months, largely sparked by Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway’s anticipated renewal — and then official one-year reinstatement — of the program.
Wednesday’s discussion about 287(g), which was organized by Gwinnett County District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque and featured six panelists — three from what Fosque called the “benefits,” or pro-287(g) side, and three from the “impact,” or anti-287(g) side — was intended to foster a dialogue between the program’s supporters and opponents, the commissioner said.
“Our sheriff’s department has participated in the 287(g) program for about 10 years, yet no one has brought the two sides together to decide what are the benefits of 287(g) and decide what is the impact,” Fosque said. “I’m a newly elected commissioner, so I’m trying to do new things. I pray at the end of this discussion, (attendees) walk away with a different perspective, or at least a new perspective.”
While Fosque said it remains to be seen whether attendees’ perspectives were ultimately changed, it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying.
With businesswoman Andrea Rivera, District 99 State Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero and local attorney Antonio Molina on the anti-287(g) side and Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Shannon Volkodav, ICE Southern Region Communications Director Bryan Cox and D.A. King, president of the Dustin Inman Society, which pushes for tougher immigration laws but has been labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-immigrant hate group, on the pro-287(g) side, the discussion ranged from quotations of bible verses to racial profiling to what ICE’s presence in Gwinnett will be if 287(g) goes away.
The two sides did agree on one thing, however: fear plays a large role in immigration discussions, though for different reasons.
“This is a conversation about fear,” Rivera said. “People have had encounters that (contribute) to that, but it’s also a fear (of immigrants) that’s been imposed on all of us by politicians and others. But one of the reasons that most our parents and grandparents or great grandparents came here is because they were looking for a different life and for a different way of living.”
For many immigrants, especially ones who are undocumented, their fear is different than what Rivera spoke of — it’s a fear of being targeted because of their skin color or immigration status.
But Cox said much of the immigration-related fear, especially when it pertains to 287(g), is unfounded.
“There is a lot of fear in the community; of that, we agree. Both sides speak to fear in the community,” Cox said. “However, that is based on a significant amount of misinformation. ICE does not do any type of random, indiscriminate enforcement in Gwinnett County, or anywhere.
“When our officers go out for the day to make arrests, they quite literally have in hand a target list. They’re going to a specific place, looking for a specific person.”
Similarly, Volkodav said, 287(g)-trained deputies, or any other law enforcement in Gwinnett, are not asking residents about their immigration status — the only place a county law enforcement officer can question someone’s immigration status is when he or she has been brought to the jail and is charged with a crime.
Then, too, it’s only one of the specially trained 287(g) deputies who can do the questioning.
“The reality is, 287(g) focuses solely on criminal offenders. The only way you’re going to encounter 287(g) is if you’re charged with a crime,” Cox said. “Currently, ICE goes to the jail and takes custody of a criminal offender, and only that criminal offender. The reality is, in the jurisdictions that don’t work with ICE, this agency has no choice but to send ICE officers into the community to find those criminals. With 287(g), we go to the jail, arrest the target and only the target. Without 287(g), you will see an increased ICE presence; the agency will have no choice but to send more officers onto the streets of Gwinnett County to find those same persons.
“The result of that is, when you’re looking for that target, we also would be more likely to encounter other persons in the country who are in violation of federal immigration law,” Cox continued. “So, if your position is that you don’t like ICE and you don’t want ICE enforcement, the reality is, 287(g) is your best friend, because this is a program that focuses exclusively on the subset of (undocumented) individuals who commit criminal offenses.”
While Cox’s words likely didn’t do much to dissuade fear of ICE, Fosque told the Daily Post she felt confident the evening opened the eyes of both pro- and anti-287(g) attendees.
“I think it accomplished an opening up of perspectives on how 287(g) operates, as well as the emotions about the impact,” Fosque said. “That was my whole point — for both sides, the benefits as well as the impacts, to really understand each other. That’s what I think it did, and I think it accomplished that goal. It didn’t necessarily change minds, but it (offered) the opportunity just to listen to different viewpoints and educate people.”
_ More below
D.A. King, president of the Dustin Inman Society, which is labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-immigrant hate group, was one of three pro-287(g) speakers at Wednesday’s meeting. He was joined by Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Shannon Volkodav and U.S. Immigration and Customs Southern Region Communications Director Bryan Cox.
On the anti-287(g) side, businesswoman Andrea Rivera, District 99 State Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero and local attorney Antonio Molina served as panelists.
Carden’s petition, which was published on Change.org on Wednesday, was created as several immigrant advocacy groups refused to participate in Wednesday’s meeting because King served as a panelist.
In the petition, Carden, a Democrat who is running for the District 1 commission seat, wrote the meeting was “hijacked by D.A. King.”
“King was elevated into this position as official ‘representative’ for the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office by Sheriff Butch Conway. The Republican Sheriff has avoided accountability on his policy positions for years and refuses to speak with the people whom he serves,” the petition reads. “If the Sheriff is too afraid to defend this policy, then he should either resign or choose a different course. King’s inciting and bigoted rhetoric should never have been given the legitimacy of this platform by Conway’s office, which is funded by taxpayers, in one of the most diverse counties in the nation.”
The petition continues to say that “while there are plenty of reasons to criticize” Conway, “this decision is intolerable.”
“We are demanding that the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners pass a measure condemning Sheriff Conway for his actions, and begin investigating correspondence between his office, D.A. King, the Dustin Inman Society, and any other hate groups,” the petition said. “This calls into question the Sheriff Department’s ability to fairly pursue justice. As citizens who are supposedly protected and served by the Sheriff, we have the right to know why he selected King to represent his office.”
Carden told the Daily Post he started the petition, which, as of Friday afternoon had more than 170 signatures, because it is “unacceptable and intolerable that bigots, like D.A. King, continue to be elevated to positions of authority by Republican officials within our county’s government.”
The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to the Daily Post’s request for comment on the petition.