Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren penned a letter on Monday, Jan. 7, on county letterhead, in support of a request for Congressional funding of President Donald Trump's border wall and asking that Congress do their part to end the continuing partial federal shutdown.
11Alive obtained a copy of the letter through an open records request.
According to a sheriff's office spokesman, the letter was initially sent to Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson in Massachusetts in response to a request for letters of support. Warren's letter was to be forwarded to the White House.
"As one of America's Sheriff's who is deeply committed to my oath and promise to protect my citizens and legal residents from harm, I am, like most Americans, fed up with Congress's refusal to do their jobs and fund the border wall," Warren said.
Warren, an elected Republican, referred to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants "protected by Sanctuary policies," referring to sanctuary cities in some areas of the United States where municipal laws are designed to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation or prosecution.
Leaders in those jurisdictions generally have policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration and customs enforcement personnel regarding detainment and deportation of immigrants. The concept apparently is tied to the concept of churches which have historically provided sanctuary to individuals fleeing persecution.
"Last week, we learned of the coldblooded murder of a police officer by a criminal illegal alien that was protected by Sanctuary policies. During that same week, three innocent people were murdered by an illegal alien in Minnesota, and a 5-year-old was raped in Pennsylvania by another criminal illegal alien," Warren said.
In the letter, the sheriff implies that the growing level of immigration, and more particularly the growth of undocumented immigration is tied to the increasing numbers of overdoses and drug-related deaths in the country. More specifically, Warren lays the rationale for this at the feet of Congress.
"I am painfully aware of the continuing loss of the innocent American lives and the escalating numbers of overdoses and drug-related deaths caused by members of Congress refusing to fund border security initiatives," Warren said. "For more than 20 years, we have been asking Congress to provide funding to stop the flow of illegal immigration and the carnage, trauma, and suffering it brings to our neighborhoods."
He insists that this is not a politically motivated argument, even as he continues his "quality of life" argument that has been a hallmark of the Trump Administration's anti-immigration-based agenda.
"This is not about party affiliation. This is about ongoing threats to the residents of our communities," Warren said. "My fellow Sheriffs and I have our boots on the ground on the decline in the quality of life of our communities."
Warren's position echoes that of the Trump Administration, which says that there is an ongoing threat to the American people as a result of so-called unchecked access to the nation's southern border.
"I stand united with my brothers and sisters in demanding that you immediately pass legislation to fund the wall and make the safety and welfare of American citizens your top priority," he said.
Warren closes the letter by insisting that Congress is standing in the way of the people that law enforcement around the nation is sworn to protect and that he and his "fellow Sheriffs" will not keep quiet while their safety is threatened.
"America's Sheriffs will not stand silently while the people we're sworn to protect are put in harm's way," Warren said.
President Trump plans to make his case to the American public during an Oval Office address on Tuesday evening before a trip to the Mexican border region on Thursday.
NBC News and 11Alive will carry live coverage of the president's remarks and the Democratic response on-air and online Tuesday evening beginning at 9 p.m.