Despite the ongoing criticism of U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), agents continue their efforts to keep the public safe from negligent sanctuary policies. Last week was no exception when ICE conducted a series of fugitive apprehension operations in North Carolina. The operations netted 24 illegal aliens in the Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh areas.
Their efforts were spurred by the reckless decisions of local officials. County jails released a number of illegal aliens despite detainer requests being issued by ICE. Some of these aliens were charged with serious crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon, driving while intoxicated, and burglary. Public officials in Mecklenburg, Durham, Wake, and Guilford Counties defied immigration authorities and released these criminals to roam freely in their communities.
Unfortunately, ignoring detainer requests is a regular practice in several jurisdictions in North Carolina. The sheriff policies of Durham, Mecklenburg, and Wake counties do not honor ICE detainers. Prior to the 2018 sheriff’s races, Durham and Mecklenburg’s counties complied with ICE detainers. In Fiscal Year 2018, Mecklenburg county transferred 473 criminal aliens to immigration authorities. Since the election victory of Sheriff Gary McFadden in 2019, the cooperation between ICE and local authorities has diminished.
North Carolina officeholders have introduced legislation to quell wayward sheriffs from defying immigration law, only to find a lack of support from the Governor’s office. House Bill 370 would have require sheriffs to cooperate with ICE detainers. However, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) vetoed the proposed bill last August. He defended the move by touting the thoroughly debunked myth that his constituents would be less safe if law enforcement were instructed to collaborate with ICE.
Much like these pro-illegal alien sheriffs, Gov. Cooper is endangering law-abiding Americans and lawful migrants by refusing to comply with federal law. If these elected executives were committed to preserving public safety, they would welcome the help of immigration agents who pursue criminal aliens.
Law enforcement leaders and elected officeholders must reverse course by acknowledging the dangers of sanctuary policies and abandoning their opposition to immigration enforcement. Otherwise, their communities will continue to pay for the consequences of their careless decisions.