Six months ago the Hall County, Ga., Sheriff's Office signed up for the 287(g) program. The program allows local law enforcement officers to receive specialized training from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in order to start immigration proceedings against suspected illegal aliens.
Many local residents are positive that the 287(g) partnership is causing many illegal aliens to return to their home nation. Miguel Nuñez, the owner of the El Expreso bus terminal in Gainesville, Ga., says that in the last six months, ticket sales have increased by 60 to 80%. El Expreso operates a bus service between Raleigh, NC and McAllen, TX, on the U.S. - Mexico border. Nuñez says that most individuals are leaving Gainesville for Mexico.
Miguel Nuñez wasn't the only person seeing the 287(g) program make a difference. Jose Luis Diaz, who owns the local Fiesta Cab Co., says that directly after the 287(g) partnership began his company received up to 600 calls per day; not because people were leaving, but because illegal aliens were afraid to drive without a valid driver's license: "About five months ago, probably ... it was very, very good business.... I was busy all day here in the office." However, these days his business is down by as much as 40%.
Diaz says that while business is down overall, he has seen a massive increase in the number of individuals who need a ride to the bus terminal or the airport. Diaz said, "They take big suitcases, so that means not come back [sic]."
Some local residents are claiming that the sheriff's department is actively targeting areas where Latinos live and work. Not so, says Col. Jeff Strickland: "We have not targeted any specific areas specifically to arrest Hispanics.... Our road checks are usually based on our traffic maps based on DUI enforcement, accident areas and high-crime areas."
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Updated: Mon, Jul 24th 2017 @ 3:01pm EDT