CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) —
On Friday morning, officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that roughly 200 people were arrested in raids across North Carolina over the last few days.
However, officials said that number does not include the nearly 30 people taken into custody at a Sanford manufacturing company on Tuesday morning because the arrests were made by a different division.
Although the statistics are not finalized, officials said the following is true of the nearly 200 arrests:
- 50 suspects involved had criminal convictions
- 40 had pending criminal charges
- 50 were previously deported but had re-entered illegally
Sixty other people arrested were not specifically targeted. Instead they were arrested when they could not verify their legal status for ICE agents who were searching for other undocumented people.
As for the seeming increase in raids, ICE Atlanta field office Director Sean Gallagher said this is the new normal. He said with Wake, Durham, and Orange county leadership ending the 287g program (which transferred undocumented detainees to ICE custody) ICE has to now actively seek out undocumented immigrants.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office responded to the charge from Gallagher by saying it had never participated in the 287g program. “Our position is and continues to be that if we receive documentation that provides the necessary legal basis to satisfy the Fourth Amendment, we will hold the individual. Absent the necessary legal basis, the individual will be released.”
Gallagher said it is his team’s job to arrest criminals. He said his team will continue to actively search for undocumented immigrants with criminal records, and his agents will not turn a blind eye if undocumented family members or friends are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Residents should expect a more visible ICE presence in the Raleigh-Durham area,” Gallagher said. “ICE will now have no choice but to conduct more at large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests instead of arrests at the jail where enforcement is safer for everyone involved.”
The arrests this week have taken place across the Tar Heel state including Charlotte, Burlington, Durham, and parts of Wake County.
Bryan Cox, a spokesman for the ICE, added, “ICE does not conduct any type of random or indiscriminate enforcement. The agency focuses first and foremost on criminal offenders and other public safety threats.”
On Wednesday, Cox also provided new data to the ABC11 I-Team showing 15,189 arrests of undocumented immigrants by the Atlanta Field Office, which covers Georgia and the Carolinas.
Among those detained, 9,490 (62 percent) were convicted of criminal offenses, while 4,464 (29 percent) were first detained by local law enforcement on other pending charges.
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