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Monday, July 13, 2009 - 12:05pm

Local Sheriff Department Allowed to Enforce Federal Immigration Laws

The Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department has become the fifth agency in Georgia to be accepted into a federal program that allows local and state officials to enforce federal immigration laws.

The Gwinnett Sheriff's Department is one of 11 new law enforcement agencies nationwide whose acceptance into the Homeland Security Department program was announced Friday.

The acceptance of Gwinnett Sheriff Butch Conway's application was hailed as a victory by anti-illegal immigration groups but decried by civil liberties and human rights groups.

The 11 new participants are the first to sign a new, standardized agreement since the program was overhauled following an investigation earlier this year by the Government Accountability Office.

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