FREDERICK, Md. (DC News Now) — Chuck Jenkins, Frederick County’s current sheriff, is battling for a 5th term against his opponent, Democrat Karl Bickel.

Jenkins said if he is re-elected Tuesday, he wants to uphold the controversial 287(g) program, which gives state and local law enforcement the ability to collaborate with immigration and customs to enforce federal laws.

Chuck Jenkins says he wants to continue focusing on crime reduction in the county if re-elected. He said he knows 287(g) is controversial, but it’s a policy he plans to continue enforcing.

“Over 14 years, we have placed into removal or deportation, roughly 1630 criminals to include about 115 validated criminal gang members, so I would say our county is safer because of it,” said Jenkins.

287(g) is a federal program that allows deputies to question, report and detain undocumented immigrants.

Maria Shuck is the director of Centro Hispano de Frederick, a local non-profit that helps immigrants. She issued a statement in the face of the upcoming elections.

“It is unfortunate that Sheriff Jenkins feels the need to partner with I.C.E and the 287(g) program to keep law and order. Centro Hispano continues to support all law enforcement and the good work they do for all of us in the community. We all deserve to feel safe and protected.”

Maria Shuck

In a phone interview, Karl Bickel, says he believes 287 (g) has become a political football used by an extremist sheriff, and there is no real indication the program works for crime prevention.