CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Federal officials in North Carolina say they have arrested hundreds of immigrants in the U.S. illegally this week after some local law agencies stopped cooperating with immigration enforcement.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement regional director Sean Gallagher said Friday the arrests resulted from what he termed “the dangerous policies of not cooperating with ICE.” Gallagher said actions by local law enforcement forced his officers to conduct more enforcement.
ICE officers have detained 200 people in North Carolina this week. Another 25 were detained at an arms manufacturer in Sanford.
Since December, new sheriffs in Mecklenburg and Wake counties have reversed a policy that notifies ICE about the legal status of inmates in county jails. The Durham County Sheriff’s Office also ended the practice of honoring ICE detainers.
Mecklenburg County Sheriff, Gary McFadden’s office issued the following statement Friday afternoon in response to the day’s earlier news conference by ICE representative Gallagher:
People charged with serious crimes as well as people being released and the termination of 287g are two separate issues. The Sheriff does not set bail and the Sheriff does not determine when individuals are eligible for bail. Magistrates and Judges in the Court system make those decisions. For ICE representative Sean Gallagher to suggest that dangerous people are suddenly walking out of jail because of the termination of the 287g policy is engaging in cynical fear mongering.
There are significant areas where MCSO has always and will continue to cooperate with ICE, which includes the following:
- MCSO fingerprint examiners share Mecklenburg County Jail arrestee fingerprints with ICE so that ICE can monitor databases
- MCSO honors ICE criminal warrants signed by judicial officials
- MCSO complies with all applicable federal and state laws including NCGS 162-62, which requires MCSO to verify a person’s legal status in this country for felonies and impaired driving offenses
- MCSO made necessary adjustments to our arrestee classification form that insures compliance with NCGS 162-62
- MCSO strictly complies with NCIC/DCI User’s guidelines, which requires providing ICE with confirmations of alerts on a criminal ICE warrant
- MCSO grants ICE access to arrestees/ inmates to conduct interviews with those subject to an ICE criminal warrant or to serve a criminal warrant
- MCSO works in conjunction with all state and federal law enforcement agencies, including ICE, to perform their law enforcement duties in the Courthouse
Sheriff McFadden is deeply committed to keeping the community safe and is committed to providing ICE access to the Mecklenburg County Jail. If ICE is interested in addressing violent crimes committed by all citizens and not just those committed by immigrants, Sheriff McFadden would embrace the opportunity to work with ICE to address violence at all levels in our community.