GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Emotions were running high in Gwinnett County Wednesday night during a meeting about a controversial program called 287(g). It's a federal program that gives authority to local law enforcement to screen for immigration status. The program has been in place in Gwinnett County for nine years, and Sheriff Butch Conway recently renewed the agreement for another year.
Commissioner Marlene Fosque hosted the community meeting to allow community members to hear various points of view on the issue and to clear up some misconceptions. Panelists discussed the benefits and the impact of the program.
Members of the audience also had the opportunity to talk about what they thought of 287(g). Some held signs saying they support the program, others held signs saying it tears families apart.
"We're concerned about safety and we know that this program helps us to be safer," said Edward Muldrow with the Republicans of Gwinnett.
Phi Nguyen with the Asian Americans Advancing Justice said it's just the opposite.
About 200 people attended the meeting.
"It actually makes a community less safe because it breaks down the trust between immigrants and local law enforcement," said Nguyen.