Protesters interrupt City Council meeting over 287(g) participation

Staff photo

A group of about a half dozen people interrupted Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Fayetteville City Council to protest the federal 287(g) program.

The group, called Equipo de Defensa Al Inmigrante, entered the council chambers with their faces covered, chanting, and carrying signs during a discussion about where to locate a parking deck in the downtown area.

The protesters carried a large banner that read “Fayetteville deports immigrants of color” and some smaller signs, and their chants called for an end to 287(g), a section of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act that calls for participating jails to turn over undocumented people to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The protest is related to the arrest of Fayetteville resident Alan Rodriguez, 24, who according to Arkansas Times, had been detained at Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville since September on criminal mischief charges for allegedly spray painting graffiti in Gordon Long Park. Over the weekend, Rodriguez was transferred to ICE officials, and taken to a detention facility in Louisiana despite protests seeking to prevent the transfer.

From a Facebook post made by the group on Wednesday.

We interrupted the city council meeting to:
1. demand justice for Alan
2. demand that the city of Fayetteville stop (indirectly) participating in the 287(g) agreement
3. demand that Mayor Lioneld Jordan honor his words when he said he had directed the Fayetteville police force to not participate in 287(g)

If Fayetteville wants a “progressive” image and a city where all people are welcomed, they need to take immediate action to stop handing over our community members over to ICE.
Our fight is for justice, our fight is for a world without ICE, our fight is for a world where we can live without fear!

The City Council was forced into recess during the action. Fayetteville police officers arrived on the scene, and the protesters left shortly after.