SOUTHERN COALITION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Elena Everett, Media Coordinator, 919-323-3380×112, cell 919-413-1276
SOUTHERN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZERS PROTEST “287(G)” PROGRAM AND TREATMENT OF NC IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY
DURHAM, NC – Participants in SHROC (the Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference) will hold a vigil and demonstration in front of the Wake County Jail on Saturday, December 13, from 5pm-7pm to protest the county’s 287(g) program.
SHROC is a biannual conference of human rights organizers from across the Southeast. SHROC leaders are particularly concerned about the targeting of immigrant communities throughout the South through the 287(g) program.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Department is one of eight law enforcement agencies in North Carolina to enter into a 287(g) agreement with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Proponents claim that these programs make our communities safer by facilitating the deportation of “dangerous convicted criminals.” In reality, this program has been mostly used to target people accused of minor offenses.
In Wake County, even victims of crime have been arrested under 287(g) and deported. Jose Sergio Ruis was deported after he reported a break-in at his home. He was told by police that his fingerprints were needed to distinguish them from those of potential suspects. Police ran his fingerprints through the ICE database and found that his immigration paperwork was not compliant. He was deported. Incidents like this have led many in immigrant communities to be fearful of cooperating with police.
The NC Sherriff’s Association reported that 33% of the over 3,000 people deported under the 287(g) program were detained for driving related offenses, other than DWI.
This has led to widespread suspicion that police are using racial profiling and that people are being arrested solely to give law enforcement the ability to check their immigration status. For example, community members report a marked increase in police checkpoints in areas with a high Latino populations, including in front of Spanish-language churches on Sunday mornings.
“Every member of our community has the right to live without fear. The 287(g) program is being abused and making our community members and immigrant families feel less safe,” said Marty Rosenbluth, staff attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
Southern Coalition for Social Justice; http://www.scsj.org
Southern Human Rights Organizers Network; http://www.shroc.org
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