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The recent detainment of a Collier County resident angered members of the local community. Residents organized a protest on February 11 on the steps of the Collier County courthouse and are asking Sheriff Rambosk to end the 287(g) agreement with ICE, which was implemented in Collier in 2007.

Under Florida Statute 287(g), a law enforcement agency can make an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to authorize police officers to take on certain roles of an immigration officer. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) supervises the agreement. Protestors argued that the program encourages racial profiling and targets undocumented individuals.

Karen Caudillo Naples resident, was among the protestors. Her uncle, Juan Daniel Gonzalez Lopez, was asked for proof of residency during a traffic stop, which led to his detainment by the Collier County Sheriff’s Department. The crowd chanted on the steps of the Collier courthouse, sharing anecdotes of their experiences with 287(g).

Caudillo was born and raised in Collier County, and she said she grew up with the fear of having her family members deported. She said she feels there is a mistrust between the community and the local law enforcement.

“As my family loses another family member, our community is torn apart,” Caudillo said. “My uncle came here when he was 16 years old, and his kids are now going to be left without a father. I saw what this policy did to my community, and I didn’t realize that it wasn’t normal for people to disappear until I left for college.”

“It has thrown them in the shadows of this society, it has oppressed them,” Collier resident Bryan-Oliva Infante said. “I’m here to say that I made it out of that. So now that I made it out, I’m going to go back and fix the system. If they mess with one of us, they mess with all of us.”

Sheriff Rambosk released a statement defending the office’s participation in the 287(g) program and reassured residents of Collier that they would not be targeted.

“It is important to understand what this program is and what it is not,” the statement read. “Only individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and are being booked into our jail are asked about their immigration status. Our deputies in the community do not ask people their immigration status, nor do we as an agency conduct immigration sweeps.”

But the recent detainment of Lopez shows otherwise. According to Caudillo, he was asked his immigration status after getting into a car accident.  

“Slavery and segregation did occur in this county, and now these are the repercussions,” Caudillo said. “So, we’re here today to tell Sheriff Rambosk that regardless of what he tells our community, these laws are white supremacist policies, and they’re pushing an agenda that is not welcomed in our community.”  

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