Home News Charlotte: Immigrant groups say city leaders must protect aliens from arrest

Charlotte: Immigrant groups say city leaders must protect aliens from arrest

February 14, 2017 at 6:47 am 14 News
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For a week now, it has been reported that Charlotte’s immigrant community is in a “state of fear” over a rumored rise in federal arrests of undocumented people living in the east part of the city.

Now, that fear is turning to anger and advocates are calling for action.

Action NC, the Latin American Coalition, the NAACP and a handful of other immigrant advocacy groups issued an ultimatum Friday to city and county leaders:

Take a public stand against the arrests on behalf of the community’s immigrant population or face a backlash at the polls.

There are reportedly 30,000 Latinos in Mecklenburg County who are qualified to vote, and they will remember “who stood by them at election time,” said Héctor Vaca of the group Action NC.

“The city (council) is afraid of the General Assembly, so what we’re asking for is courage to defend the people they took an oath to represent,” said Vaca.

“The immigrant community is very angry. They were told by (politicians) what was going to be done for them after elections, and the city council is refusing to do anything. We don’t want workshops. We don’t want studies. We’re looking for commitment to take a stand.”

The criticism of city and county leaders comes amid widely circulated social media reports — many unsubstantiated — that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is conducting “raids” to round up and arrest of immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Similar reports are popping up across the country, including a story Friday in the Washington Post that claimed Los Angeles immigration lawyers were “inundated” after 100 people were reportedly arrested there Thursday in an ICE “coordinated sweep.”

ICE has denied conducting “raids” and says it hasn’t increased activity in Charlotte and elsewhere. It says the arrests are routine and ongoing.

Action NC, which disputes ICE’s claim, says 14 to 17 people were arrested in Charlotte this week. Local Latino media say the number is closer to 21 people.

However, the numbers aren’t being verified by ICE. It says it will have a “snapshot” of Charlotte arrest numbers in a few days. A spokesman for the York County Detention Center, where the NC immigration detainees are held, said they cannot comment on how many Charlotteans are being held there. It referred all questions to ICE.

Immigrant advocates claimed at the Friday press conference that the York facility is at capacity, forcing detainees to be transferred elsewhere. That detail was attributed to unnamed immigration attorneys and not to ICE or York County officials. An ICE spokesman said Friday that he was not aware of that “rumor” and would look into it.

Businesses in east Charlotte are reporting the immigrant community’s fear is so great that customers are down by as much as 50 percent.

“I can see the fear in my employees eyes, because they have children or friends who could be arrested,” said Manuel “Manolo” Betancur, owner of Las Delicias bakery on Central Avenue.

The anger expressed by immigrant advocates comes at a time when the city is being criticized by some Republican state leaders for taking a passive approach to dealing with people living in the country illegally.

It’s estimated there are 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States who are candidates for deportation. The Obama administration made it a point to focus on arresting and deporting only the most serious criminals among them.

However, a Feb. 8 New York Times story says that changed under President Donald Trump. The Times reports Trump’s executive orders include one stipulating undocumented immigrants convicted of any criminal offense — “and even those who have not been charged but are believed to have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” — have become a priority for deportation.

Immigrants’ rights advocates told the Times that the new approach could easily apply to a majority of unauthorized immigrants in the country.

Trump has also has threatened to withhold federal money from cities that don’t share information with the federal government about people in the country illegally.

Last week, Mecklenburg Commissioner Bill James questioned whether Charlotte is complying with Trump’s recent executive order on enforcing immigration laws. The order targets “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with the federal government.

James said his concern is that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department — whose policy two years ago was not to ask people about their immigration status — could jeopardize federal funds for the city and county. Three other Republican officials also said they want to make sure Charlotte isn’t violating the recent order.

In 2015, the City Council passed a civil rights resolution that said, among other things, that CMPD would not enforce immigration law. Unless a suspect was believed to be part of a violent gang or a terrorist, an officer would not ask about someone’s immigration status.

Under the resolution, if an officer learned or suspected that anyone was in the country illegally, CMPD would not act on that information. In explaining the resolution, CMPD said its job isn’t to enforce immigration law, just as its officers are not the Internal Revenue Service and don’t bust people for tax evasion.

That led to some critics calling Charlotte a “sanctuary city.” The resolution drew the ire of the General Assembly, which passed a law in 2015 that nullified what the Republican legislature said were “sanctuary city” ordinances — a clear reference to Charlotte.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office both disputed reports this week that they are acting in coordination with ICE during recent arrests.

“We’re not backing down on this because it is the right thing to do,” said Vaca. “Immigrants pay millions of dollars in taxes, and they are helping to build this city and this state.”

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(c)2017 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

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Charlotte: Immigrant groups say city leaders must protect aliens from arrest, 7.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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14 Comments

  1. usafoldsarge
    usafoldsarge February 14, 2017 at 9:38 am

    enough already……. yes immigrants, LEGAL ones have always made a contribution.
    This KRAP of continually stating that we are a nation of immigrants has got to stop. How many generations have to pass before a legal immigrant’s descendants are no longer claimed by the LEFT to be immigrants????????????

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 14, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      SO let me get this straight. The city leaders should
      A) Ignore their oath of office to UPHOLD OUR LAW and
      B) do what they can to STOP Federal law enforcement officers from doing their DUTY, all to please these whiners and sycophants??

      I am sorry, but how is that in and of itself NOT a crime, demanding someone else break the law???

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)
  2. capricorn1 February 14, 2017 at 9:54 am

    head em up movem out rawhide!

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (5 votes cast)
  3. nee43 February 14, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Why would legal aliens or naturilized citizens – who came to the US to escape the drug cartels, gangs, abusive governments, etc. – be against the deportation of the same people they wanted to be free of?

    Seems to me they should be the first people to want them to be deported. Or they gained entrance as refugees under false pretense.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 14, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Cause like blacks, unfortunately latinos are a “brand name group” they usually (not always) follow the same “Brand” as their parents, so if the parents are dems, so are the kids and it just keep staying that way…

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  4. Srini Varadarajan
    Srini Varadarajan February 14, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Aliens legally in US who are law-abiding, yes — all others, absolutely positively NOT!!!!!

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  5. teapartyproud February 14, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Once again we are having the waters muddied by calling all of them immigrants, whether they are legal or not. If they are here legally, then they are immigrants. If they are here illegally, they are criminal invaders and the city owes them no protection or “rights”. Do not allow the two to be combined.

    It sounds like these reports of round-ups are more fake news designed to get the pro-illegal people riled up even more than they already are.

    It’s going to be ugly trying to clean up the mess that’s been created over the last thirty years. Buckle up and be ready for it.

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    • jackieray
      jackieray February 14, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      any legal immigrant who helps an illegals should lose their legal status up to and including their citizenship as they are dishonoring the oath

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)
  6. barelypure February 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    President Trump putting the panic back into Hispanic.

    Actually those who are here legally should welcome the deportation of those who are here illegally. It removes the stigma that all Hispanics are illegal. It provides more jobs, most likely at a higher pay. It allows schools, hospitals and the like the ability to respond since there’s fewer sucking up the benefits.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 14, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      I agree. it is a bout time that the CRIMINALS in this country, illegal invaders included started being the ones paniking.. Rather than normal citizenry fearing what will happen…

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  7. columba February 14, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    I don’t know what the “immigrant community” that’s truly “qualified to vote” (not just handed ballots on the basis of fake ID) has a gripe about. They’re not the ones who are being arrested for breaking the law. But if they’re trying to stop lawbreakers from being arrested, they’re as much accomplices in the illegality as they’d be if they tried to stop pickpockets and shoplifters from being arrested.

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    • jackieray
      jackieray February 14, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      thay should be arrested and charged with aiding and abetting a federal crime

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 15, 2017 at 1:09 am

      Just like i feel all those groups that run those “watering stations” in the deserts of AZ, MN and Texas, just to “help illegals creeping into the US have a “Safer journey” should have been arrested for Aiding and abetting their illegal entrance. Pity the Scrotus court said that is NOT a crime (iirc)..

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  8. DrGadget February 15, 2017 at 5:40 am

    (title) “Charlotte: Immigrant groups say city leaders must protect aliens from arrest”

    A couple things here.

    1. Then whose job is it to protect citizens from illegal aliens?
    2. What some group says is immaterial. What does the law say?
    3. They play fast and loose throughout this article with the word “immigrant”. For instance:

    “The criticism of city and county leaders comes amid widely circulated social media reports — many unsubstantiated — that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is conducting “raids” to round up and arrest of immigrants who are in the country illegally.”

    No. If they are in this country illegally they are illegal aliens. Immigrants who came here legally are called “Americans”. That’s the difference.

    Or looked at another way, people who immigrated here legally are called “law-abiding citizens”. Those who came here illegally are called “criminals”.

    The job of the city is to protect law-abiding citizens from criminals. If they can’t do that, then they no longer need to be in power. We can replace you with someone who knows how to uphold the law.

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