CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - Ice officials are going after immigration fugitives, re-entrants, and at-large criminal aliens but it’s sending a wave of fear through communities where people feel ice is coming after all immigrants.
“The community is very scared. People are afraid they’re not going to work, children aren’t going to school,” said Atenas Burrola, Director and Managing Attorney for the Immigrant Integration Center.
The recent roundup of immigration fugitives in the country has landed 85 people in custody in North Carolina and 19 in South Carolina. One Mexican national arrested in Charlotte was previously convicted of three counts of indecent liberties with a child. He was sent back to Mexico and illegally re-entered the United States. But, violent criminals aren’t the only people being detained.
“A lot of them are traffic convictions so, any sort of minor traffic conviction. We’re also seeing that they are detaining people who are doing what they’re told who are told to go to ICE to check in to make sure that they’re still here and when they go to check in they’re being detained,” said Burrola.
Rumors about raids rounding up immigrants have scared some communities. However, ICE claims their agents don’t conduct sweeps, checkpoints, or raids targeting aliens indiscriminately.
ICE officials said in a release, “Reports of ICE checkpoints and sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible. These reports create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Any groups falsely reporting such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support,”
ICE says the operation is targeting public safety threats wanted for felony offenses. Burrola said, “Under President Trump’s new Executive Order the people who are a priority is now almost anyone who is undocumented.”
Concerns over CMS students’ safety, in school and at bus stops, have been called into question. Commissioner Bill James says CMS are not sanctuary schools. CMS released a statement that said in part, "Earlier today in conversations with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, CMS was pleased to learn that our school campuses and bus stops will continue to be safe zones for students. No immigration-related detainment of any student will occur on CMS property or at any school bus stop."
ICE officials say during the raids they often encounter people who are in violation of federal immigration laws. Those people are evaluated on a case by case basis and arrested.
In response to the raids a national movement called, A Day without Immigrants is scheduled for Thursday, calling for a walk out of immigrants and allies. In Charlotte, supporters will meet at Marshall Park at noon and are asked to wear white for solidarity.