Protest held against immigration measure

December 14, 2008 9:30:08 AM PST
More than 100 members of the Southern Human Rights Organizer conference, organized in front of the Wake County Jail Saturday to protest against Wake County's 287-G program. Jaribu Hill came from Mississippi and says the program is unfair. "287-G is a measure put in place by law enforcement to chill and the measure to chill and curtail the movement of immigrant people," Hill said.

The measure gives local authorities some ability to enforce federal immigration laws. Inside the Wake County jail, they are allowed to check the legal status of every inmate that comes through the doors, using the inmates' fingerprints.

Rosa Saavedra, a Wake County activist says she met a pregnant woman whose family was destroyed because of the new bill.

"I met a lady whose husband was taken away due to this 287-G," she said. "The police took him here, haul him away for a minor traffic violation."

Some argue the program encourages racial profiling. They believe the police target Hispanics and take them to jail for minor traffic violations so they can fingerprint them to find their legal status --later deporting them out of the country.

But Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison disagrees, in an earlier interview he says the 287-G program has kept criminals off the streets.

"We've already caught people that were wanted in other states and other counties," he said. "So to me, when we get a criminal off the street, regardless of how we do it, if we're doing it legally, then it's a plus for us."

Harrison says they've found more than 550 illegal immigrants at the jail since 287-G started in Wake County and with the new technology, that number could increase.


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