They held a rally outside of Winchester Hall Wed. evening.
Frederick, Md (KM) Demonstrators for and against the 287g program gathered in front of Winchester Hall in Frederick Wednesday night to express their views, with both carrying signs.
Since 2008, the Sheriff’s Office has been participating in the program run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which is part of the US Department of Homeland Security. It allows deputies to check the immigration status of suspects who are arrested. If they’re in the US illegally, they’re deported after their cases are adjudicated through the court system.
Opponents say it results in racial profiling and harassment of Hispanics and other minorities. Dr. Sayed Haque with the Frederick County Muslim Council says it adversely affects Muslims. “We don’t want fathers being separate from their children, or husbands being separated from their wives. It’s not human to us,” he said. “It’s not about what is right or what is wrong. It’s what about compassion and what is human.”
Supporters of the 287g program also showed up, including Patricia Ann Tyler. She says immigrants should come into the US legally. “I have lots of family, daughters-in-law from other countries, immigrants from Honduras. But they came in the right way because they respect our country and our values.”
The demonstration took place prior to an annual meeting on the status of the 287g program in Frederick County. Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says it’s a requirement of all participants in the program.
Supporters say 287g has resulted in the deportation of dangerous criminal who were in the US illegally. But Laine Rover with Safe Haven Frederick says that’s not always the case. “80% of the individuals are deported were for traffic violations or other minor crimes. A majority of people that are addressed by this program are not criminals as anyone would conceive of it,” she said. Rover also called for an audit of the 287g program in Frederick County.
The Frederick Extra, citing the Frederick County Corrections Bureau, says about 1,444 detainees were documented through the 287g program between April 11th, 2008 to December 31st, 2016. Out of those detainees, 1,248, or 86.4%, were arrested for misdemeanor offenses. 164, or 13.6%, were arrested for felonies.
The American Civil Liberties Union was invited to participate in the protest. A supporter of the program, Gail Weiss, didn’t want the organization there. “I’m not quite sure what part of American the ACLU is out here in force for. But I am an American and I am here for America, not to support illegal aliens,” she says.
Police officers were present at the demonstration, and kept both sides apart. East Church Street near Winchester Hall was closed to traffic during that time.
By Kevin McManus