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Henderson County To End Relationship with ICE!? Come To Tea Time in Mills River 11/29 To Find Out How to Stop This!
And, last but not least ... the fall out from the Henderson County Sheriff election begins ... (Not a big surprise, considering who funded the campaign. The handwriting was on the wall during the primary.) Residents petition Sheriff-elect Griffin to end 287g program. This will be at the top of the agenda. Come find out how we stop Hendersonville becoming San Francisco!
" ... The 287(g) program screens for foreign-born persons once they're arrested for a local criminal charge and hands them over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to begin the deportation process if they're found to be in the country illegally.
During his campaign, First Congregational noted, Griffin made a number of comments about the program, including "The Latino community, I don't think people understand the economic impact they have. There are industries that would fold without these folks, who have become a huge part of our community. We have to earn their trust ... I don't want to use (the ICE 287g agreement) as a tactic that's going to intimidate the Latino community that this county relies so heavily on."
The church's letter to Griffin also notes that upon defeating McDonald in the May primary elections, Griffin said he would look into the program in detail, and that he doesn't want to "use it as a punitive measure."
The letter also states that there are five local ICE enforcement officers whose salaries are paid by county taxpayers. But Griffin said those positions would remain even without the 287(g) program, and the 287(g)-related duties of those officers are only peripheral responsibilities for them.
"That wouldn't change, but is that the most efficient use of this peripheral duty?" Griffin said, adding that it's just one of the issues where the program is a burden to county taxpayers.
The letter points out that more than 10,000 Hispanic residents make up roughly 10 percent of the county's population. It also cites the April arrests of 15 Hispanic persons in Henderson and Buncombe counties. It quotes local immigrant advocacy and faith organizations that report Hispanics and immigrants are "intimidated and don't want to come out of their houses, not even to meet their daily needs," a statement made by Bruno Hinojosa of Companeros Inmigrantes de las Montanas en Accion.
Immigrants have stopped going to school or church, the letter says. It also says a county teacher has told the church that "she is seriously concerned that many Hispanic students appear to remain too fearful to fully participate."
According to the letter, Hinojosa also reports that roadblocks continue to be spotted and reported, and that local officers "stop Latinos to ask them for the whereabouts of people on their target list and then ask where they're from. If they give the wrong answer, they end up in cuffs ... They used to go door to door, but now they're following people who they believe might be immigrants and pulling them over on the way to work."
Griffin said the ICE raids have "absolutely nothing to do with this contract and nothing to do with the 287(g) program." They are conducted by the federal government and that he too, has issues with the way those raids were conducted.
In the proclamation dated Oct. 30, First Congregational writes that as "a people of community and faith drawn from varied traditions, our members seek to live into the ideal of unifying diversity. We are mindful of the command of the God of Abraham to treat the alien living among us as one native-born (Leviticus 19:33-34) and Jesus' admonition that we show our love of him when we love the stranger in our midst (Matthew 25:31-46)."
The letter also states that the church seeks "to support an environment where family values are affirmed by our local community, where marriages are not ripped apart and children are not deprived of loving parents. Rigid interpretation of the 287g forces many of our immigrant friends, neighbors and school children in to the shadows. It creates a toxic climate of mistrust of law enforcement and fears of uncertain consequences for those who are often already in precarious socio-economic situations."
The petition is at the reception desk inside the church entrance at the intersection of 1735 Fifth Ave. W. and White Pine Drive and is available for anyone to sign, Cleland said. ..."
And don't forget ...
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