Mecklenburg County commissioners pledge to support Sheriff, immigrant community

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff says Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids to arrest immigrants in the country illegally is causing tension in his community.

On Tuesday night, Mecklenburg County commissioners adopted a resolution supporting the Sheriff and immigrants, saying immigration regulation and enforcement is the federal government's responsibility, not local deputies.

“We value your approach to law enforcement, particularly when it comes to our immigrant community,” commissioner Trevor Fuller said. 

The commissioners pledged support to Sheriff Garry McFadden, who just two months into his role put an end to 287(g), a program that allowed sheriff deputies to run inmate’s information through a federal database to see if they were in the country illegally. If deputies found that the inmate was here illegally, they would notify ICE. 

LINK: ICE shifts focus to Charlotte, won't confirm if crackdown is over

“With respect to immigration matters, I like many sheriffs around this state, do not believe that the role of a sheriff's office is to actively partner with ICE to carry out civil immigration enforcement,” McFadden said. 

Every commissioner pledged their support to his vision.

“I was worried it was never going to change, because sheriff after sheriff, Republican or Democrat, it just kept going,” said commissioner Pat Cotham. 

Since the program ended ICE has conducted raids arresting roughly 200 people in the state of North Carolina and at least a dozen in Charlotte.

On Monday, protesters hit the streets of uptown to deliver a message to ICE agents.

“The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners declares support for our immigrant residents and our sheriff,” commissioner Susan Harden said. 

The officials adopted the resolution to reinforce their stance on immigration while urging the sheriff to find common approaches with ICE that “safely and humanely protect homeland security.”

McFadden re-emphasized that the end of 287(g) means ICE still has full access to anyone detained in the county's jails, but the sheriff's office will not detail inmates past their release date or help ICE in their immigration enforcement.