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Rally-goers oppose local officers enforcing federal immigration laws

11:14 PM, Apr 25, 2012   |    comments
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People concerned about local officers enforcing federal immigration laws raised their concerns at a rally in Downtown Knoxville.

It comes on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court started hearing arguments on Arizona's controversial immigration law.

Around 100 people from several community groups gathered in Krutch Park Wednesday evening.

They called on the Knox County sheriff to withdraw a request for a program that would allow corrections officers to screen out illegal immigrants in county jails.

The sheriff has said concerns over the program have been blown out of proportion, and says patrol officers would not be included in the immigration screening as they are in states like Arizona.

Still, those at Wednesday's rally say the sheriff's interest in the program has led to an erosion of trust between the community and law enforcement.

"We're hoping that the whole nation sees. We're hoping that it's not just us doing this. We're hoping that there's other organizations out there doing this today and that the nation can see this is something important because if this law, this program, gets labeled unconstitutional then that's a big win for immigrants of the United States," said supporter Alejandro Guizar.

Sheriff J.J. Jones has said he plans to meet with the media in the future to discuss the plan in more detail.

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