Georgia Sheriff Ignores Obligation To Comply With Immigration Enforcement Pact

Deputies may be violating civil rights of Cobb County residents

November 14, 2007

ATLANTA, GA – Today, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s leading Latino civil rights organization, wrote to Col. Don Barlett of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office and related immigration officers insisting that the county follow the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement it signed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and create a Steering Committee to monitor potential civil rights violations caused by its immigration enforcement procedures.

Over the past month, there have been an alarming number of arrests related to immigration enforcement. These arrests raise serious doubts that they comply with the Agreement, which requires, among other guidelines, that immigration-trained personnel provide “an opportunity for subjects with limited English language proficiency to request an interpreter.” (MOA Section XV, at 7)

“Over the last few months several hundred Latinos have been pulled over and are still sitting in jail,” said Elise Shore, Southeast Regional Counsel of MALDEF. “The Cobb County Sheriff cannot assure us that his deputies are carrying out their responsibilities consistent with basic civil rights protections because he has failed to establish the Steering Committee required by the Agreement.”

The Steering Committee, as mandated by the Agreement, is designed to ensure that immigration enforcement activities in the county comply with federal civil rights statutes and regulations. As a civil rights organization charged with protecting the civil rights of the Latino population, MALDEF called upon the County to establish the requisite Steering Committee and seeks membership on it.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund