(CNN)Thousands are expected to take to the streets of Wisconsin on Monday to demand that the governor remove controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a tough-talking firebrand who wants to use his deputies and correction officers to enforce federal immigration laws.
Among other concerns, organizers of the march in Milwaukee are critical of Clarke’s desire to join the Department of Homeland Security’s 287(g) program, which essentially deputizes local law enforcement agencies to operate as federal immigration agents.
The Department of Homeland Security wants to expand the government’s ability to empower state and local law enforcement to perform the functions of immigration officers.
“Sheriff Clarke, right off the bat, really waved the flag to say we’re going to bring it to Milwaukee County,” Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, the immigrant rights group organizing the statewide march, said Sunday of the 287(g) program.
“It basically legalizes racial profiling because you can be stopped and questioned and put in detention based on how you look,” she said.
Neumann-Ortiz called Milwaukee the “national epicenter” of the fight against 287(g) because of the level of resistance to Clarke’s plan to bring the program to the community, and because of his notoriety nationwide. A February march in opposition to Clarke’s push to join the federal program drew thousands.
Clarke, a surrogate for President Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, is being considered for the position of assistant secretary of the DHS’ Office of Partnership and Engagement, Politico reported.
Organizers of the Wisconsin “Day without Latinxs, Immigrants and Refugees” are also critical of Clarke’s management of the Milwaukee County Jail, where local prosecutors say inmate Terrill Thomas, 38, didn’t have access to water for a week and died of dehydration in his cell in April 2016. Three other people, including a newborn baby, have died in the Milwaukee County Jail since last April. The deaths are under investigation.
“Part of what we believe needs to be exposed his disgusting record of human rights abuses,” Neumann-Ortiz said.
Clarke’s spokesman could not be reached on Sunday; nor could a spokesperson for Gov. Scott Walker.