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Rockingham County sheriff among those who met with president

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump hosted a group of select sheriffs from around the country for a roundtable discussion Tuesday.

Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page was one of the law enforcement officers selected to meet with the president.

"I hope this leads to more discussion with the administration. This is something we haven't had in many years," Page told FOX8 over the phone a few hours after the meeting.

Page and the others discussed Trump's executive orders on the border wall and immigration. He says he is happy with the president's attitude toward law enforcement.

"You've heard it said that there's a new sheriff in Washington, or a new sheriff in town, well we just met him today," Page said.

Page strongly supports Trump's stance to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Page also supports another order by the president to make any undocumented immigrant charged with a crime a priority for deportation.

Page says since 2010, 297 illegal immigrants have been arrested and charged with crimes in Rockingham County.

But Greensboro immigration attorney Jeremy McKinney says the executive order is too broad.

"It makes anyone charged with a crime a priority and that includes traffic offenses and so in doing that I think that the administration is losing sight of what the priority should be and who we all agree should be off the streets and that are people that are dangerous," McKinney said.

"If you focus on everyone then we are going to see some bad people continue to be in our community," McKinney continued.

Trump's executive order also gives power to local police to enforce immigration law.

Page says this is an important partnership between local and federal law enforcement.

"Thank goodness we have the task force, the federal task force, made up of local, federal and state officers working out there and doing their investigations and we've got this collaboration," Page said.

McKinney says this could have a dangerous, chilling effect on immigrant communities.

"It leads to a breakdown in trust between local law enforcement and our communities, immigrant communities, citizen communities all of our communities," McKinney said.

"If people are afraid to report a crime or if people are afraid to talk to police, maybe they witnessed a crime, that is going to lead to problems for everyone," he said.