There’s a renewed call for Henderson County to stop participating in the 287(g) program with BeLoved Asheville organizing a protest calling for the sheriff’s office to “have a heart” on Valentine’s Day.
Protestors gathered on the steps of the Henderson County Courthouse holding signs calling for the controversial program to end.
It’s a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to identify and remove immigrants who are in the country illegally if they face criminal charges at the local level.
Proponents say it keeps communities safe.
Opponents say it splits families.
“Their father has been taken from them,” said Rev. Amy Cantrell with BeLoved Asheville. “This is not the value that we say we espouse, but this is absolutely what we are practicing.”
Cantrell says Roman Ruiz Perez was deported after a run-in with law enforcement.
According to the Hendersonville Police Department, he was arrested on January 28 for reckless driving and driving on a revoked license.
Cantrell says he was running late for work after tending to his pregnant wife.
For someone to be deported, there would have to be an ice detainer on their name, though a judge makes the final decision.
“Can you imagine getting traffic, in a traffic stop that leads to you losing your job, becoming homeless, thousands of miles away and being ripped apart from the family that you love?” said Cantrell.
It’s why they took their message from the courthouse to the sheriff’s office, ready to speak to Sheriff Lowell Griffin about their disappointment with the 287(g) program.
He wasn’t there, but they shared their message with a deputy who was who promised to pass their message to the administration.
A spokesperson for the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement:
“Our position on 287(g) has not changed. While we respect their right to protest, this will not change our position on following through with vetting a person brought to our detention center that has been criminally charged through the appropriate process of our 287(g) agreement.