Downtown Frederick County was home to two opposing immigration rallies Sunday afternoon.
One rally was in support of the Sheriff and his program which partners with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while the counter-protest called on the county to instead rally around its immigrant community.
Citizens for 287(g) sponsored a rally in support of Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, and the 287(g) program.
“We are not a sanctuary and we’re not going to become a sanctuary county,” Sheriff Jenkins said.
For the last 11 years, local Frederick County law enforcement has partnered with ICE to screen for immigration status when a person is arrested and taken to jail.
Under the program, a detainer is placed on the individual and they are turned over to ICE officials.
“This is all about protecting people,” said Lisa Shereika, a rally member said.
Just half a mile away, the ACLU and RISE Coalition of Western Maryland held its own counterprotest arguing that the 287 program has led to two allegations of racial profiling.
“We wanted to show our community what we’re really about. We are about unity and solidarity, particularly with our immigrant community,” said Juliana Downey, RISE Coalition of Western Maryland.
In May, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, and the County Council announced that it is auditing the finances of county funds used in the 287 program.
That audit is expected to be completed in late November.
“It is the expectation of tax-paying constituents to be accountable and for our elected officials to answer those tough questions like where are our tax dollars going?” Downey said.
The county executive was not at either rally Sunday because of family obligations. She did ask Mayor Michael O’Connor to read a statement on her behalf at Sunday’s unity rally.