by Jon Gillooly
September 20, 2012 02:03 AM
The Marietta Daily Journal

EAST COBB — Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren said he’s turned over about 10,000 inmates to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the 287(g) program since 2007.

The 50 or so people attending the East Cobb Republicans meeting at Tijuana Joe’s on Wednesday evening greeted that comment with applause.

The Cobb Sheriff’s Office was the first in Georgia to adopt the controversial program, which allows his department to partner with ICE to enforce immigration laws.

“I noticed over the years of being a chief investigator and chief deputy that we were having some problems with illegals coming into our jail being charged with some pretty tough crimes,” Warren said. “And before we could get to those crimes, before we could deal with them and turn them over to (Immigration) … they would make bond.”

So Warren adopted the 287(g) program and had his deputies trained by ICE agents to implement it.

“Needless to say, I have been in federal court, in and out, but we’ve always won,” Warren said. “These folks with Amnesty (International), folks with Open Borders, they’re constantly trying to make an issue that the locals don’t have any business doing immigration. Well, my argument is we are assisting immigration because the federal government is not doing their job in not supplying the resources and the manpower to do what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Warren said his department is constantly being monitored by “Washington bureaucrats.”

“That’s fine with us,” he said. “We’re just doing our job. We’re not profiling. We’re not dealing with no one unless they come into our jail. Once they come into our jail, they’re going to be subject to our ICE/deputies’ investigation, and if ICE wants them, I don’t deport them — now I wish I could, but I don’t have that authority, but once we find out that ICE wants them, it’s up to ICE to take them and take them to a federal judge down in Atlanta, and they deal with deporting them.”

Warren said he strongly believes that the U.S. was built by immigrants, and he welcomes them.

“But you know, we’ve got laws, and the problem is people are just lazy, and they’re using every excuse in the world not to follow the paperwork,” he said.

The sheriff said he’s received calls from people who have spent years and thousands of dollars going through the naturalization process.

“They don’t like it when someone can sneak in our country and stay in our country, and then go to college, and we have to pay for it or pay for their medical bills,” Warren said. “It’s not right, and as long as I’m sheriff, and as long as they will let me have that program, I’m going to continue doing it.”

Warren has deputies who are assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI, the Secret Service and the DEA.

“We’ve had partnerships for years, so the argument that it’s a federal issue, immigration, well, I tell them, ‘yeah, it is until they commit a crime in Cobb County and come to my jail, then we’re going to deal with them,’” he said.

Warren called on Republicans to turn out and vote on Nov. 6.

“We need to change that outfit up in Washington,” he said. “We got to get someone up there that wants to protect our borders. We got to get somebody up there who will not apologize to foreign countries because we have a Constitution, and we believe in freedom of speech.”

Warren also criticized the media.

“The mainstream media will not talk about Libya, our ambassador being killed and burned, but they had rather talk about what Mitt said, which was the truth, and you know it’s pretty good to hear a politician tell the truth,” he said.

The sheriff referenced the remark Mitt Romney made of President Barack Obama’s supporters as people who live off government handouts and do not “care for their lives.”

“In that 47 percent he was talking about, I know there was probably 10 percent of those folks who were retired military,” Warren said. “I don’t think Mitt was talking about those folks not paying taxes or whatever. I don’t think he was talking about folks that have worked all their lives and retired and drawn Social Security. He’s not talking about that, but I’m glad he didn’t apologize. I’m glad he’s standing up, and we need to stand up with him.”

Warren took office as interim sheriff in January 2004, following the previous sheriff’s resignation. He was first elected as the county’s 42nd sheriff in November 2004 and faces re-election this November against Democratic challenger Gregory Gilstrap, whom he overwhelmingly defeated in 2008.

Others in attendance at the meeting were Cobb GOP Chairman Joe Dendy; Chief Deputy Sheriff Lynda Coker; Republican Phil Daniell, who faces Democrat Michael Smith in the Nov. 6 election to fill the seat vacated by state Rep. Terry Johnson (D-Fair Oaks); Cobb Board of Education chairman Scott Sweeney; and former county chairman candidate Larry Savage.

The Marietta Daily Journal - Sheriff Warren