Collier sheriff meets with immigration activists over ICE concerns

Posted at 8:00 PM, Mar 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 20:00:27-04

Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk met with immigration activists Thursday afternoon, discussing their concerns about his department's relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. They said that fear has swept through the county's undocumented immigrants about possibly being deported, and that stories - unsubstantiated - have spread about racial profiling leading to arrests.

The concerns stem in part from an agreement called 287(g), which the sheriff's office made with ICE in 2013. Collier is one of only two counties in Florida with the agreement, which allows certain deputies who have been specially trained to act as ICE agents.

About 30 to 40 people rallied outside the sheriff's office while several individuals, representing local activist organizations such as Collier For Dreamers Indivisible Collier, spoke with Rambosk in a closed meeting.

Angela Cisneros, co-founder of Collier For Dreamers, said later that the meeting was productive. She said Rambosk told them that while the 287(g) agreement exists with ICE, his deputies do not have an active task force that is helping ICE.

"(Rambosk told us) their officers are not supposed to be surveilling people just based on their ethnicity," Cisneros said. "That's good to know for us activists, and people that are at risk for deportation."

Sheriff Rambosk issued this statement to media after the meeting:

"Today I met with respresentatives of Indivisible Collier and Collier For Dreamers regarding our agency's participation in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's 287(g) program. I appreciated the opportunity to meet with them and listen to their thoughts and concerns. As Sheriff, I am committed to continuing to do what's best for the safety of the community."