ICE officials crack down on illegal immigration in NC, across US
Posted January 14, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — Federal agents are cracking down on people in the U.S. illegally, including women and children, as dozens of people have recently been taken into custody.
The WRAL News documentary "The Journey Alone" took viewers to the U.S.-Mexico border in the summer of 2014, a time when authorities reported a record number of children crossing the border by themselves. Now, many of the same children are facing deportation.
"ICE has made more of an effort to target, we believe, women and children and asylum seekers," said U.S. Committee for Refugees attorney Claudia Hurtado-Myers.
At the start of the year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers carried out a nationwide operation targeting adults who crossed the border illegally with children. Many of those adults, who immigration advocates say should not be a deportation priority, now live in North Carolina, Georgia and Texas.
"ICE has already set certain priorities in a memo," Hurtado-Myers said.
In a November memo, ICE officials listed the top priority as threats to national security, border security and public safety.
According to Robert Alfieri, the acting deputy field office director with ICE, his team is looking for the "bad guy."
"Most of the entrants from Central America are single moms with children, not criminals," Hurtado-Myers said. "If you come into the immigration court, the first time the immigration judge says get an attorney. Unfortunately, we’re dealing with people that are very financially incapable of getting one, and the government will not pay for one."
But ICE officials say these people are considered new immigration violators - and that is their second priority - misdemeanants and new immigration violators.
In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson indicated there may be more raids.
"At my direction, additional enforcement operations such as these will continue to occur as appropriate," he said.
North Carolina currently has 1,788 removal orders for women and children, according to a program by Syracuse University.