ACLU, RISE, File Open Meetings Act Complaint Against Sheriff

They dispute the Sheriff’s decision not to hold a community forum on 287g program.



Fredeick, Md (KM) The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Resources for Immigrant Support and Empowerment (RISE) have filed an Open Meetings Act complaint against Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. In a statement, the ACLU says it’s taking issue with the Sheriff’s decision not to hold a forum for Frederick County residents regarding the 287g program.

The ACLU, in a news release,’ says the forum is necessary for for citizens to know how their tax dollars are spent rounding up immigrants. It also says residents have expressed concerns about racial l profiling¬† and a lack of accountability by the Sheriff’s Office.

“287g legitimizes racial profiling, causes Frederick residents to avoid reporting actual crimes, denigrates the value and contributions of our immigrant neighbors, and gives Frederick County an inaccurate reputation of being unwelcoming,” says Julia Becker, RISE Coalition member, in a statement. “Without a public forum to express our dissent, the Sheriff is making it even more clear who he wants to provide public safety to, and it isn’t the immigrant community.”

The Sheriff’s Office has an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which lets deputies check the immigration status of the suspects they arrest. Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says he’s not required to hold the forums, and said opponents of the ICE program were disruptive at last year’s meeting. He says an opinion from ICE says he does not have to hold the meetings.

He also says checking for immigration status occurs are the County Detention Center after a suspect is arrested and is being processed. Opponent disagree, and say deputies have pulled over individuals they suspect of being in the US illegally.

The complaint has been filed with the Open Meetings Compliance Board. The Sheriff’s Office has 30-days to respond, and the Board usually issues its opinion within 30-days after that.


By Kevin McManus