287-G Protest Planned for Saturday
A controversial law is sparking protests across the country and here in Charlotte. 287-G is a law that authorizes state and local law enforcement to act as immigration officers.
“This is a federal piece of legislation that really should be handled on a federal level. It’s not something local police officers should be looking at,” said LaWana Mayfield with the Mecklenburg Justice Project.
Opponents of the law say there are civil rights issues, and that some immigrants are deported after being arrested for minor offenses. They also question the money spent on the program. “Our local dollars could be used to help our schools, our libraries and our families,” said Stacey Bonilla with American Families United.
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office has several deputies who have been trained to enforce the law. Mecklenburg County Sheriff Chipp Bailey says the law improves public safety and that the cost of the program is offset by what federal officials pay the department to house undocumented immigrants in the county jail during the process.
“It’s a tool to identify people. It does not deport people. Immigration Customs Enforcement deports people. But, they do that based on their regulations and guidelines,” Bailey said.
The law has been controversial since it was passed in 2006. “We need to have more of a push to actually get our federal officials to do something about these issues – actually pass immigration reform. That’s the real answer. Enforcement only is not the answer,” said Hector Vaca with Action NC.
The rally takes place Saturday in Marshall Park at 10am. Protestors will then march to the Sheriff’s Office.