BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - The Butler County Sheriff's tough stance on illegal immigration is drawing fire.
Sheriff Richard Jones is being accused of racial profiling due to his outspoken stance on immigrants in the county.
[Related: Butler Co. Sheriff sends letter to Mexican officials, asks for payment for housing their citizens]
Tensions over the illegal immigration issue are heating up all over the country and there are those who feel illegals are being unfairly targeted by law enforcement like the Butler County Sheriff's Department.
A group of protesters gathered outside the Butler County Sheriff's Department with their children who the protesters claim are the real victims of Jones' excessive enforcement.
The protesters held banners and shouted "si se puede, si se puede … yes we can, yes we can."
The protest was organized by Jennifer Young, who accuses Sheriff Jones of racism.
"I don't think he likes people of color, any color, but his own."
Jennifer has four children by a Mexican national who was arrested for driving without a license and then deported. Jennifer and others believe it's the children who suffer the most.
"All of my kids have to do therapy, all of my kids are on medication. They can't deal with the fact they feel they'll never see their father again," Heather Aleshire's, whose husband was deported in 2008.
Sheriff Jones insists he's not unsympathetic. "Today they brought their children with them and I understand that and it's sad when their loved ones get deported and their kids stay here, but it's no different than my jail when U.S. Citizens get sent to prison," said Jones.
Jones says he has no room in his department for racism.
"Anytime you do anything that doesn't agree with some people in your community, you're profiling it's either because of their color or their religion … it's the same thing. I would fire somebody that does that," Jones said.
More than 100 people were expected at this protest, but organizers say they're not disappointed by the lower outturn and promise this is just the beginning.
According to federal statistics illegal immigration is the fastest growing arrest offense in Ohio and convictions for immigration related crimes in the buckeye state are on the rise.