More than 100 people protest illegal immigration program

By: Lorena Estrada Email
By: Lorena Estrada Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Alejandro Guizar was ten years old when he and his family came to the US from Mexico.

"I was brought here by my parents to seek an education and escape from the Cartel violence," Guizar said.

He learned English, enrolled in school and new friends. Knoxville became his home.

"I love Tennessee," he said.

Alejandro got the education his parents brought him here for. He graduated from Hardin Valley Academy last year.

But just a week after graduation, the 19-year-old's dreams came toa hault when police found out he's not a US citizen.

"I made the mistake of going to a graduation party, and then I walked home. When I walked home, a police stopped me and got me for public intoxication," Guizar said.

He now finds himself in the middle of a controversial program that could be headed for Knoxville. The 287 (g) program. The Knox County Sheriff is looking to adopt the program that would allow deputies to check the immigration status of anyone booked into jail and enforce federal laws.

More than 100 people protested against it Tuesday afternoon outside the city county building. Many of them said they're afraid it would lead to racial profiling, and have deputies looking for hispanics committing crimes in an effort to deport them.

"The local police is not for that. The local police is to be for the community not against the community," said Miguel Carpiza with the Tennessee Immigrant Rights Coalition.

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