About two dozen people gathered outside the Al Cannon Detention Center today to call on local lawmakers to end participation in the 287-G program.
“We want our legislative, our representatives, our senators to get rid of 287-G,” Maria Rocha one of the organizers of the demonstration said.
287-G is an initiative by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The bill allows local law enforcement officials to voluntarily partner with ICE to assist with federal immigration law enforcement.
Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is one of those partners.
“Our leaders here in Charleston County have to tell them we don’t want this no more,” Rocha said.
For some of the attendees, their reason for protesting was personal.
“What happens if they take me, send me back to Mexico, because I’m from Mexico,” demonstrator Patricia Perez said. “What happens with my family?”
Perez is a mother of five. She’s also an undocumented immigrant.
“it’s hard,” Perez said. “It’s hard.”
Perez worries she may someday be forced to leave her family and return to Mexico. That’s something she says could happen because of the 287-G project.
We reached out to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office to comment on their participation in the 287-G program. Unfortunately, no one responded to our request for an interview.