Activists ask Whitfield County S.O. to end partnership with ICE
WHITFIELD COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) — The Northwest Georgia Justice Coalition in Whitfield County is calling on Sheriff Scott Chitwood to make a change within their sheriff’s office.
Activists are asking the sheriff’s office to end their partnership with the federal immigration enforcement officers, otherwise known as ICE.
Sheriff Chitwood says he is aware of the protest and he stands by the 287(g) program.
“Every law enforcement in the state of Georgia and Tennessee has access to ICE. So if we pull the plug on the 287(g) program, ICE is just a phone call away. So, that’s what it is for, to remove the criminal element to make our communities safer. If you are not violating the law, it does not affect you,” Chitwood says.
Activists say the minority community makes up a very large portion of Whitfield County’s population, and the program tears families apart. They feel their community is not represented.
“We would like to sit down with him and basically tell him he’s wrong in not wanting to end it. If he wants to represent the community as a whole , he needs to listen to the community as a whole. He needs to see our concerns and listen to us,” says Omar Rodriguez, Northwest Georgia Coalition.
Sheriff Chitwood says they have had over 47 nationalities come through the county jail, and no specific ethnicity is targeted by ICE.
The sheriff says 287(g) can only come into effect when people are in jail for breaking the law.
The Activist group plans to hold a peaceful sit in protest at the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday.
Activist are calling this protest a sit-in, because they plan to be there for a very long time.
Community members are encouraged to come out and write personalized letters to Sheriff Chitwood explaining their experience with ICE, and why they would like to see a change within the community.
The group is also hosting a community food drive earlier that day from 2 to 4 p.m.
For more information on the movement, click here.
To sign the petition, click here.
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