Local Politics

Possible threats against Chatham officials investigated

Posted February 18, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Members of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners have received threats following their recent decision not to take part in a federal program to identify illegal immigrants charged with crimes.

The board voted last month to pass on an opportunity to participate in the federal 287(g) program administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying they thought it was costly and ineffective.

Chatham County Sheriff's Office cruiser Chatham's pass on 287(g) prompts threats

Under the 287(g) program, ICE agents give local law enforcement agencies access to federal immigration databases so they can identify illegal immigrants they have arrested on local charges. ICE also trains officers how to initiate deportation cases against those people.

Wake, Durham, Cumberland and Alamance counties already participate in the program, and Orange County recently joined a separate ICE program called Secure Communities that doesn't include the deportation portion of 287(g).

After the decision in Chatham County, commissioners Chairman George Lucier started getting e-mails with messages like "Sleep soundly while you can!"

"We are monitoring some incidents with the commissioners," said Maj. Gary Blankenship of the Chatham County Sheriff's Office. "So far, none that we have seen constitutes a threat, so we are just staying apprised of the situation."

Extra deputies were assigned to Monday night's commissioners meeting in case of problems, and Lucier said an evacuation plan was drawn up. There were no problems at the meeting.

Deputies also investigated something said to a county employee who answered one of many calls the county offices have gotten about the 287(g) decision.

"The person went on talking about how bad it was and so on and so forth and said, 'We'll just come in and take you all out,'" County Manager Charlie Horne said.

Horne said the number of upset callers increased after information about the county's decision was posted on the Web site of Americans for Legal Immigration. William Gheen, the organization's president, said he got involved because local resident can't.

"They are afraid to speak out. They are afraid of retaliation," Gheen said, adding that he plans to remain involved in the issue.

Horne said the issue is beginning to die down, but he said he isn't taking anything for granted.

"We are obviously cautious and vigilant about what is going on around us," he said. "It's a distraction on the things we need to do."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Justin T. Feb 20, 2009

    I wonder if this is "news" so they can take an unpopular stance and act like they're standing up for themselves.

  • roadbrnr Feb 19, 2009

    Just organize,get candidates ready,and give Lucier,and his cronies the old heave ho!No threats,just action. Thataway, you dont have to fret about th' law gettin' you for communicating a threat.Not to mention more credibility. Lets take back our county,country the right way.

  • geosol Feb 19, 2009

    Hardly any news here. Far right nut cases are famous for making threats against people but not being able to get up the courage to actually do anything.


  • Timbo Feb 19, 2009

    Assault on a Government Official should be an Olympic Event. But instead of every 4 years, once a month should be good. Then maybe there would not be all these stupid decisions.

  • gordonbabe Feb 19, 2009

    Too funny! They're upset because some of the citizens of Chatham are voicing their opinions... albeit negative; they are still opinions and they have a right to them.

    HOWEVER... stop it with the threats. For all you ignorant people out their actually threatening the officials; all you are really doing is taking the validity from the other opinions that have been raised in a more professional manner.

    The law abiding citizens agree; send them packing. The State let them in; the State should send them home (might open up a few jobs for the REAL NC citizens).

    But voice your opinions like a responsible adult as to leave a little credence to those of us in the county that still have half the sense God gave a goat!

  • news4u Feb 19, 2009

    With ignc73 - laughs are guaranteed!

  • NCPictures Feb 19, 2009

    "Don't give me the "freedom isn't free" stuff. That doesn't even make any sense. Brave, schmave. They don't do anything to "protect us" because there's nothing to protect us from! Let's shut down some of these military bases and put these people where they belong: in prisons!" --IGNC73

    Your ignorance and lack of gratitude is beyond comprehension.

    You should sit down with some of these people you want to put in prisons and hear the stories of what GOOD we have done in the Middle East, and Kosovo, and Afghanistan, Columbia, and....

    You are a sad little person!

  • dta27615 Feb 19, 2009

    Nice to see that Bill Gheen (a failed wanna-be politician himself) is up to his usual shenanigans.... you can't disguise racism and call it patriotism.


  • ignc73 Feb 19, 2009

    beposs: It doesn't sound like the soldiers are learning much discipline considering how many of them are criminals.

  • ignc73 Feb 19, 2009

    How perfect. The day I say that military bases are more crime-ridden than cities with lots of immigrants, we get this story:

    No, my daughter is not allowed near military bases. They are dangerous, nasty places. She is, though, allowed to go into areas with high numbers of immigrants. They tend to be a lot safer.

    beposs: They're not doing it unselfishly. They're all doing it in order to live on OUR TAX MONEY. Don't give me the "freedom isn't free" stuff. That doesn't even make any sense. Brave, schmave. They don't do anything to "protect us" because there's nothing to protect us from! Let's shut down some of these military bases and put these people where they belong: in prisons!