Columbus, Ga- It was the stop on the Michael Williams for Governor  “Deportation Bus Tour” that almost didn’t happen. After several canceled locations, including Peachtree Mall, the controversial deportation bus was parked in the lot of the Manchester Expressway Park and Ride in Columbus. Williams took the opportunity to push back against his campaign’s newfound reputation. 

“The whole purpose for the bus is to highlight my 287(g) deportation program. What that would allow is for sheriff deputies to be deputized as active ICE agents. So whenever they find an illegal alien that’s committing yet another crime, they can begin the deportation process immediately,” says Williams. 

Yet the message in Williams’ television ad that was temporarily pulled from YouTube for violating the site’s policy on hate speech promise to “fill the bus with illegals and send them home.” A promise he says he only meant figuratively. 

“Like when the lady in Gwinnett was raped in front of her two kids by an illegal alien, it’s those type of people that are in our country illegally that are bringing harm to our communities that we want to put on this bus…figuratively and send back home.” 

Supporter Edward Harris says Williams’ message and those who agree with him politically are being misunderstood. 

“We love this country. And we’re not talking about all Mexicans-we’re talking about illegals,” says Harris. “The ones that come here illegally, the ones that don’t need to be here, the ones that commit crime.” 

But for protester Derrick Williams, Williams’ motivation was clear. 

For politicians who continue to have this attitude of racism and bigotry-they need to get out of here,” says Derrick Williams. “We need to elect people who are actually gonna uphold the things we stand for here in America.” 

Which led me to ask Williams an important question. “Are you a racist?” 

“That’s a ridiculous question. Because there’s nothing on this bus that says that at all. If you can point to one thing…take it in context that would point to that,” says Williams. 

“If you’re as tired as I am with politicians that do nothing but talk and you wanna see this bus filled with illegals,” says Williams in his television ad. 

Williams tells News 3 that his campaign has no control over how the public is receiving the intent behind the deportation bus tour. But supporters and opponents agree that speaking out is the American way. 

“We live in a free country where people are allowed to protest even if they, in my opinion, aren’t on the right side,” says Harris. 

“You need to get up, be bold, speak out, be brave, be courageous because this is unacceptable,” adds Derick Williams.