One group favors 287-G, the other is opposed.
Frederick, Md (KM) The immigration issue was the subject of two demonstrations in downtown Frederick on Monday.
One was put on by the Frederick County Conservative Club which expressed support for Sheriff Chuck Jenkins’ participation in the federal 287g program. “It’s keeping our streets safe. It’s taken over 1500 criminals off the streets, and I have absolutely no problem with that,” says Club President Fred Propherter. He says he and his supporters stood on the sidewalks at the Square Corner expressing their support for the Sheriff.
The other demonstration was put on by the Rise Coalition Western Maryland and took place at the Bandshell at Baker Park. . One of the organizers was Lacey, who didn’t give her last name. She says she wants funding reduced for the Sheriff’s Office., and put to other uses. “Things like rent assistance for folks that are really struggling through COVID,” she said. “Really, moving money toward communities of color that have been really affected by the 287g program, and Sheriff Jenkins’ policies,” she said.
The 287g is a federal program which allows participating police departments to check on the immigration status of suspects they arrest. If they’re here illegally, they can deported.
The Sheriff says this determination takes place after an individual is arrested and brought to the Detention Center. Critics say deputies have pulled over individuals due to their ethnic background. The County has been sued over this contention, and has ended paying out settlements to the plaintiffs. “They waste our time and our money dragging our Sheriff into court over frivolous lawsuits,” Propheter responds. “I’ve done ride-a-longs. They do not stop people just because of their ethnicity.
Lacey takes issue with the contention that the 287g program has help rid Frederick County of more than 1500 criminals. “They are a lot of folks that are being deported from our community that we do not believe are criminals and do not deserved to be deported,” she said. “We also don’t feel our local community Sheriff’s Office should be doing the work of the federal government with this 287g program.”
Propheter says the program is not anti-immigration. “We have more support with legal immigrants than anybody else,” he says. “They know the costs of doing it the right way, coming through the front door, following the process.”
Lacey says this program has a major disadvantage. “It makes our communities less safe. because people are not willing to call the police when they need help when there are actual things that they could use assistance with because they’re worried about deportation,” she said.
The program has been controversial since it was introduced into Frederick County.
By Kevin McManus