One day after Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones vented his frustration online at the federal Immigration Enforcement and Customs agency's denial of his request to implement immigration enforcement program 287(g), dozens of activists responded with their own public statement.
Dozens of people carrying signs and logs marched through downtown Knoxville to the sheriff's office chanting, "Hey, J.J., let the loving families stay."
The wood was a reference to the sheriff's post Wednesday, referring to his willingness to "stack these violators like cordwood in the Knox County Jail until the appropriate federal agency responds," regardless of support from the federal government.
"The point of today is to make a statement that it's not alright for people who are elected in to office to make dehumanizing statements about the people they are supposed to protect," said activist Alejandro Guizar.
The group preceded the march with a skit where a man bearing the name tag 'sheriff' ordered people to the ground and began to stack them together.
"We are not cordwood," shouted Guizar. "We are people."
The immigration enforcement program 287 (g) would have granted some local deputies limited immigration enforcement powers.
It's something Guatemalan-American Emma Ellis-Cosigua opposed, but she says she attended the protest Thursday out of concern for her grandson's future.
"He has a Spanish last name," said Consigua. "It's scary for him, because I just don't know what his future would be like."