Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway was among a small group of law enforcement officials to join President Donald Trump on Tuesday for a round table discussion about so-called sanctuary cities.
In his brief opportunity to speak, Conway did not directly address sanctuary cities — communities that choose not to actively cooperate with immigration officials — but touted his own agency’s prolific relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office joined the federal 287(g) program, which allows jails to check the immigration status of detainees and initiate deportation proceedings if appropriate, nearly a decade ago.
“We’ve cooperated with our partners with immigration the 20 plus years I’ve been sheriff,” Conway said at Tuesday’s round table. “We started a 287(g) program with ICE in 2010. Since that time, we’ve interviewed more than 47,000 inmates as they came into our jail and identified more than 17,000 as being illegal aliens. We’ll continue working with ICE and we certainly appreciate everything that you folks are doing for us. We need the help.”
The president’s response was brief.
“Thank you very much,” Trump said. “Appreciate it. We’ll get there.”
The White House posted video of the 37-minute gathering on YouTube. Conway’s appearance can be seen in the video above.
Georgia law officially prohibits sanctuary cities, though some municipalities have cooperated with immigration authorities more willingly than others. Just last fall, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle threatened to cut off state funding to the city of Decatur after officials approved a policy not to detain immigrants without a valid warrant.
Gwinnett is one of four Georgia counties — Cobb, Hall and Whitfield the others — that have participated in the 287(g) program for several years. As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday, two other Georgia counties just signed onto the program last month.
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