published Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Georgia groups want end of local enforcement program

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — A coalition of Georgia groups wants the federal government to stop allowing local police to enforce U.S. immigration laws.

The groups sent a letter Thursday to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security saying that the program has led to racial profiling and eroded trust between the community and police.

Attorney Arturo Corso told The Times of Gainesville that the program was not being used to target criminals and drug offenders as originally intended. Corso, whose firm signed the letter, said the majority of those deported are nonviolent traffic offenders.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office, which is part of the program, defended local enforcement. Hall County Sgt. Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said police need to enforce laws, including those governing immigration. He said immigration enforcement is done fairly.

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