INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A group of Indianapolis residents hit the streets Thursday afternoon and asked for change from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office when it comes to the enforcement of immigration laws.
The Indianapolis Congregations Network, also known as IndyCAN, says local resources are being used to detain undocumented immigrants in the Marion County Jail without cause. But, the sheriff’s office tells FOX59 their practices are in line with Indiana laws.
Dozens of people marched through downtown Indy at lunch time singing and carrying signs that read “families first.”
“We are here on behalf of vulnerable people, vulnerable families,” said Reverend Hector Hernandez. “Families that are being right now separated.”
Among the crowd was Emily Salinas, a mother and teacher.
“I’ve heard a lot of sad stories over the years and I don’t want to sit idly by and let things happen,” Salinas said.
This group said they don’t believe Marion County Sheriff’s deputies should be detaining people based on orders from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
“The manpower can be used in a different way that can benefit all of us,” Hernandez said.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, 135 people were released to ICE between March and May.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office sent us a statement, saying in part:
“There is no Indiana Supreme Court case that renders ICE detainers unlawful in Indiana. Immigration is a federal issue and the status of such detainers is currently being addressed by federal courts. Nevertheless, IndyCAN continues to spread ugly falsehoods and promotes misguided fear. The sheriff, who took an oath to uphold the Constitution, has devoted his life to protecting Hoosiers.”
Hernandez said having local law enforcement carry out ICE orders can breed distrust.
“If they need the police, they are not going to reach out,” Hernandez said.
There is a pending lawsuit against the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, filed by the ACLU, that alleges a man was unconstitutionally arrested due to his immigration status.