Residents protest Tulsa County immigration contract renewal
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Some residents are protesting the Tulsa County Sheriff’s decision to renew a partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate people suspected of being in the country illegally.
Tulsa County Commissioners heard arguments Monday over the move to remain in ICE’s 287g programs through next summer. The 287g programs deputize local law enforcement for duties that are typically performed by ICE agents.
Critics argue that deputizing local officials to screen people is profiling and will make immigrants less likely to report crime. Some said the program has been used to deport individuals for minor traffic violations, while others question whether local taxpayer money should be spent elsewhere.
“These laws that we have right now are unjust,” said Daniela Rosales, who said she benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young immigrants living in the country illegally who were brought here as children to remain in the U.S. “You will find yourselves on the wrong side of history.”
Opponents are calling on county commissioners to reverse the decision.
But Sheriff Vic Regalado said he won’t get rid of 287g as long as he’s in charge because it deals with immigrants who have committed serious crimes.
Regalado said ICE also gives the county $5 million each year.
Tulsa resident Paul Bernett said he supports Tulsa County Jail asking anyone booked into the jail about their citizenship and notifying ICE agents.
“I can see the deterioration of our country from the way it used to be and how well things went in the ’60s,” Bernett said. “They ain’t going that well now.”
The issue has been debated across the country as President Donald Trump’s administration has increased migrant detentions. Washington recently joined Oregon and California in enacting broad sanctuary protections that restrict local authorities from asking about people’s immigration status.
Tulsa County Commissioners could vote to end the program when the full contract is up for renewal next year.