The Md. ACLU and other groups will hold a rally in front of Winchester Hall.
Frederick, Md (KM) An update on the 287g program in Frederick County is scheduled for Wednesday evening, but protests are also expected.
The Sheriff’s Office participates in this federal program run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It allows deputies to determine the immigration status of suspects who are arrested. If they’re in the US illegally, they will eventually be deported after their cases go through the judicial system.
The program has been controversial since the Sheriff’s Office began its association in 2008. “The types of criminals that we have placed in the program have been removed from the streets, removed from Frederick County. The criminals that we have not allowed back on the streets through the program; plus the fact that we’ve never had a complaint about profiling, discrimination, harassment or anything. It’s truly been a model program,” says Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, who was a guest Tuesday on WFMD’s “Morning News Express With Bob Miller.”
One of the groups planning to protest the 287g program is the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “I think the primary objections is that historically in the past, in Frederick County has resulted in racial profiling, and it’s not exactly cheap for the localities either,” says Nick Steiner, an attorney for the ACLU.
Steiner says he’s also not surprised that Sheriff Jenkins has not had any complaints about the 287g program. “The people who would be making the complaints would be worried that they themselves would be victims if they raised any complaint with the Sheriff,” he said.
Sheriff Jenkins continues to say deputies will not harass people about their immigration status if they obey the law. “Everything that we do is in the confines of the jail,” he said. “We do nothing on the streets There’s no enforcement on the streets. There’s no inquiries into immigration status on the streets. Everything is after you are physically arrested.”
The local Republican club is encouraging its members to show up and support the Sheriff. It says County Executive Jan Gardner, Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater and State Senator Ron Young, all Democrats, encouraged the ACLU to come to Frederick and protest in an effort to make Frederick a sanctuary city. But Steiner said it was local activists who asked the ACLU to come. Elected Officials were not involved. “We were contacted by some activists in Frederick County who had already been planning a rally and protest outside of the steering committee meeting in Frederick for some time now,” Steiner says.
Sheriff Jenkins also said no elected officials invited the ACLU to come.
The protest rally is scheduled for 6:00 PM in front of Winchester Hall. The 287g meeting will follow inside at 7:00 PM.
By Kevin McManus