Local News

Immigrants and city leaders speak out against ICE arrests, family separations

Posted February 17, 2020 12:16 p.m. EST
Updated February 17, 2020 5:40 p.m. EST

— City leaders from Raleigh and Durham joined several immigrant families on Monday to speak out against recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, actions in North Carolina.

ICE agents detained 32 people in 10 counties since Jan. 14, including 16 in Raleigh on Friday, speakers said during the press conference. Other arrests occurred in Alamance, Chatham, Forsyth, Guilford and Randolph counties.

With lawmakers by their side, representatives from four immigrant families spoke to the media in an outdoor gathering on Monday at 10:30 a.m. Each of the families currently has a family member in ICE custody.

Organizers said the event was meant to show unity in what has been a trying time for immigrant communities. "ICE doesn't want our neighbors to have a 'first chance,' to say nothing of a second chance," said councilmember Javiera Caballero of Durham. "We have a judicial system that protects our communities. These detentions undermine that system, they undermine the faith immigrant community members have that if they don't flee the scene of an accident, that if they follow the instructions of local law enforcement, if they show up for their court and probation appointments, they will be better off than if they don't."

City leaders said many people detained recently were pulled over by ICE agents in unmarked cars pretending to be police officers.

"They're taking advantage of the trust many local law enforcement agencies have built over years, that they don't work with ICE", said councilmember Michelle Kennedy of Greensboro. "Many of these people know they don't have to talk to ICE agents, but ICE agents often don't identify themselves until after our neighbors have exited their vehicles."

At the event, immigrant advocacy group Siembra NC announced a campaign to raise money for the families effected by ICE detentions.

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