Winnebago Tribe and Unity Action members speak out against Dakot - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Winnebago Tribe and Unity Action members speak out against Dakota County Sheriff participation in ICE program


The chairman of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and members of the Unity Action in South Sioux City are speaking out against the Dakota County's Sheriff Office's participation in a federal immigration enforcement program.

Those in opposition fear the ICE program sends the wrong message to their community.

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and Unity in Action in South Sioux City are banning together to voice their concerns over Dakota County Sheriff's Office's involvement in a federal immigration enforcement program -- Section 287(g).

According to Cristina Topete with Unity in Action, Dakota County Sheriff Chris Kleinberg has signed the agreement to join the program.

"It would be a matter of time before they get everything ready, so we're looking at maybe June or so, said Cristina Topete, a community organizer at Unity in Action, "So we're just asking him to listen."

Section 287 (G) falls under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. 

It would allow deputies who go through a 30-day training, to perform the functions of federal immigration agents.

For Winnebago Tribal Chairman, Frank White, he says the program could lead to an increase in racial profiling.

"If your skin is brown, you are more likely to be stopped, detained and possibly arrested," said Frank White, Winnebago Tribal Chairman, "I make sure that I drive 55 MPH going down the road so I don't get stopped. And I see other vehicles that had other licenses plates from other counties and they're not bothered."

White says Section 287 (G) will only make that fear more profound among tribal members.

KTIV has reached out to Dakota County Sheriff Chris Kleinberg with calls and even a stop to the county jail and hasn't been able to get a comment.

Topete says she hopes Sheriff Kleinberg hears their concerns and understand the fear is real.

"I've had people come up to me and ask me, what's going to happen to me, can I drive here, can I still be living here," said Topete, "And that's the fear that they have that they'll be driving to work, driving to the store, that they'll be driving to their church and they'll be coming in contact with the sheriff's department and they don't know what will happen then."

It's a fear that Topete and White hope stays out of Dakota County.

Currently, ICE has 287-G agreements with 75 law enforcement agencies in 20 states. 

Dakota County would be the first in Nebraska.

No agencies in Iowa or South Dakota are part of this agreement. 

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