Illegal immigrants facing charges for murder, child sex offenses, rape, drug trafficking and robbery could be released onto the streets across North Carolina due to “sanctuary” policies that shield undocumented criminals from deportation, federal authorities are warning.
The notice comes from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is stepping up its public campaign against sanctuary policies, under which cities and counties refuse to cooperate with ICE detainers. Those detainers are requests for local jurisdictions to notify ICE to an illegal immigrant’s release, and then hold onto them until authorities can take them into custody and deport them.
“[W]hen local jurisdictions refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement, they not only betray their duty to protect public safety, but force ICE to be more visible in those areas,” the agency said in a statement, asking the jurisdictions to “transfer these individuals to federal custody instead of releasing them to the community where they may reoffend.”
ICE last year deported more than 145,000 criminal illegal immigrants, and the agency says that about 70 percent of arrests it conducts occur via a detainer from a local or state jail or prison.
But amid calls for ICE to be abolished entirely — even among lawmakers and 2020 presidential hopefuls — some cities have pushed anew for sanctuary policies. Activists claim that sanctuary policies protect the human rights of immigrants and encourage immigrant communities to report crimes and cooperate with police.
The consequences, ICE counters, can be dire. The agency is now drawing attention not only to those released already, but those who eventually could be released if sanctuary cities don’t comply with ICE detainers. – READ MORE