Community activists speak out against Charleston County Sheriff’s Office agreement with ICE

VIDEO: Activists call for sheriff's office to end program with ICE

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Local human rights and immigration activists are speaking out against a program at the Al Cannon Detention Center which works with immigration and customs enforcement.

Charleston Immigrant Coalition is calling on the sheriff’s office to end a voluntary program with ICE called the 287(g) agreement.

With it, deputies at the Al Cannon Detention center are trained to work on immigration enforcement cases under an ICE supervisor at the jail.

Sheriff Al Cannon says deputies only report people to ICE who have committed felonies or violent crimes.

“It is folks that have committed, like I say, some serious offense. Driving under the influence would be the least of those. But any felonies, violent crimes,” Cannon said.

However, Nina Richards with the Charleston Immigrant Coalition says otherwise, claiming the agreement between the Sheriff’s Office and ICE has resulted in the separation of over 2,500 Charleston families.

“They were arrested for simply driving without a license or they were arrested for running a stop sign or they were arrested for going a little too fast,” Richards said. “But you know what actually happens is that when we equip the sheriff’s department with a 287(g) agreement, it facilitates racial profiling.”

The sheriff says deputies have been working with ICE since 2009 and he does not plan to pull out of the agreement.

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