Daniel Nichanian, editor of The Appeal, a national website focused on local criminal justice systems, writes about the coalition of Northwest Arkansas activists working to end the voluntary participation of Washington and Benton Counties in the controversial 287(g) program that allows the federal government to delegate immigration enforcement duties to local law enforcement. Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder, a Democrat, and Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway, a Republican, are the only two sheriffs in Arkansas participating in the program.

Nichanian points out Helder’s 2010 statement in which he blames undocumented immigrants (he calls them “illegals”) for bringing crime to the area. Holloway is quoted as being receptive to reviewing his agency’s participation in the program when it expires later this year.