Why do we need to get ICE Out of Gwinnett?


Gwinnett County is less safe because of the Sheriff’s Office’s policies

When ICE partners with local law enforcement, immigrant communities and people of color are less likely to report crimes – even as a witness – because they feel threatened when interacting with law enforcement. This means that many in Gwinnett County are not reporting crimes they experience or witness, risking the safety of the entire community.

Gwinnett County has spent over $13 million and counting for these policies

In Gwinnett County, the over $13 million¹ in local taxpayer money that has been spent on ICE activities could have been used to support initiatives such as public transportation, health services, or education. And, in the event of a lawsuit over these unconstitutional policies, Gwinnett County’s taxpayers, not ICE, are liable for the unlawful detention and treatment of undocumented people. Now, it is more important than ever to get ICE Out of Gwinnett!


Gwinnett has one of the nation’s harshest immigration enforcement policies

Since 2009, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office has detained and deported thousands of undocumented people.  Gwinnett County alone has been responsible for over 20% of all ICE detainers executed in Georgia since teaming up with ICE.²

The Sheriff’s Office has voluntary procedures designed to maximize arrests and deportations of undocumented people, mostly for infractions as minor as traffic violations.

Families are being separated and children are put at risk

Undocumented people are often part of households that include a mix of U.S.-born citizens, naturalized citizens, and legal permanent residents. As more and more families are torn apart, households lose income and children are put at risk for falling into foster care. Over time, children of detained and deported undocumented immigrants will experience extreme socioeconomic and psychological harm.


The Sheriff’s Office deputizes local officers to do the job of ICE agents

Section 287(g) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 allows local law enforcement to deputize officers to act as ICE agents for certain functions, including issuing detainer requests and transporting individuals to ICE custody. The Sheriff’s Office signed a 287(g) agreement to work with ICE in 2009 and renewed it in 2016, but participation is completely voluntary. In fact, the agreement expires June 30, 2019; the Sheriff’s Office needs to renew it to continue deputizing its officers.

The Sheriff’s Office voluntarily complies with ICE “holds”

ICE may request that local law enforcement hold a person for up to 48 hours after the time s/he would otherwise be released (for example, after posting bail or serving a full jail sentence). Like 287(g) agreements, ICE “holds” (detainer requests) are non-binding and completely voluntary. Courts have held that detaining an undocumented person based only on an ICE hold is unconstitutional and violates the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

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¹ Sheriff’s Office 278 Program Exp and SCAAP Awards

² TRAC Immigration, http://trac.syr.edu/phptools/immigration/detain/ (last visited Sept. 14, 2018). Numbers current through April 2018.