***For Immediate Release***
December 13, 2017
Contact, Ismael Valadez
Phone: (712) 389-0287
Dakota County Businesses Tell Sheriff to Embrace a “Welcoming Community"
SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. – Today, businesses from Dakota County sent a letter to Dakota County Sheriff Chris Kleinberg urging him to reverse course and abandon a proposal to bring a controversial federal program to Dakota County. Under the 287(g) program, local law enforcement agencies agree to dedicate resources, training, and staff time to enforce immigration law on behalf of the federal government. The program has been widely criticized for wasting scarce local resources, eroding trust among immigrant communities, inviting constitutional violations, and compromising public safety.
“Our employees, customers, shareholders want to know that law enforcement is seeking to capture criminals and keeping our community safe, and are not participating in programs which lead to discrimination in our jails and deters community members from contacting law enforcement when a crime occurs. As Dakota County businesses, we must rightly serve our employees, customers, shareholders and the community by opposing the 287(g) program which will only jeopardize our Dakota County operations,” said the letter.
In recent years, neighboring counties have experienced business growth. The letter points out that Dakota County has had increased residential growth due to a neighboring food plant. The businesses worry that if the 287(g) program is adopted, Dakota County will suffer financially.
"It can have a significant economic impact to the Siouxland area, many businesses rely on minority people that come from the surrounding towns to shop here and they may not feel welcome to come here anymore. The Siouxland area has been successful because our small businesses stay strong. We have to remember that a business is not a good business without a good clientele base! We cannot target minorities without risking our businesses. Their contribution to our economy generates significant benefits for not only local communities in which they reside, but also the county as a whole. Unfortunately these benefits may not have been fully understood by all," said Adriana Dungan, owner of Cardinal Tax & Business Services.
A local advocacy organization, Unity in Action, has been contacting businesses and residents about the program. They said the program has the potential to threaten public safety.
“People want to live in a community where they have a strong relationship with local law enforcement. We want people to feel safe when they travel to Dakota County. Having this type of certification will do the opposite. The local economy will be impacted due to the potential decrease of people that will come to South Sioux City to shop at the local businesses,” said Ismael Valadez, President of Unity in Action.
If the federal government approves a 287(g) agreement with the county, the county would still need to sign an agreement. The businesses who signed onto the letter encourage residents of Dakota County to contact the county board and Sheriff Chris Kleinberg and urge them to reject an agreement if offered.