GEORGIA GROUPS GRADE NEW COBB COUNTY SHERIFF 50 DAYS INTO HIS TENURE
Not a month has gone by since Cobb County’s new Sheriff, Craig Owens removed the 287(g) program and already the community feels safer and more optimistic. In a county where over ten thousand people have been unjustly turned over to ICE, this has huge implications. Families do not have to worry that their loved one will get transferred over to ICE for driving without a driver’s license. Cobb County has the opportunity to pave the way for the state and region by using these resources for our long-term health.
The 287(g) program is a voluntary program where state and local law enforcement agencies can create “partnerships” with ICE, according to the agency. It is not binding in any shape or form, and it is not law. For too long it has forced law-abiding Georgia families to live in fear, dramatically impacting how they live their lives and contribute to society.. Between 2017 and 2018, about 86 percent of ICE arrests were people with no conviction or low-crime level, according to a study published by Project South and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. This is a testament to how the agency targets vulnerable communities for a premium while failing to make them safer.
Counties that implement the 287(g) program can spend up to $3.7 million annually. The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute reported that localities that implemented the program were only able to recover 12 percent of the cost! With this otherwise wasted capital now available, Cobb County has the power to invest in issues that matter like health care, education and other programs that truly make our community safer.
In electing Sheriff Owens, the people of Cobb County voted to right the wrongs of the past and build a better future for our county. We expect much more in the coming months from Sheriff Owens to make this community more just, and congratulate him on this first step. This is just the beginning. As Sheriff Owens continues to usher in a new era in Cobb, we hope to see the department continuing to continue to end policies that tear apart immigrant families, restore dignity to the Cobb County jail, and use his power to combat mass incarceration.