ICE Partners Again With a Sheriff It Once Severed Ties With Because of Racial Profiling

Whether it’s Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller, or Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Trump administration has a real knack for empowering and absolving people who push discriminatory law enforcement and immigration policy. Now there’s another name to add to that list: Sheriff Terry Johnson of Alamance County in North Carolina. Six years after the federal government severed ties with Sheriff Johnson for his office’s discriminatory policing of Latinx residents, Uncle Sam and the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office are partners once again.

In 2012, the U.S. Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit against Sheriff Johnson, which sprang from the department’s two-year investigation into his office. In its complaint, the Justice Department alleged a widespread pattern of racial profiling that systematically and unlawfully targeted Latinx residents for investigation, traffic stops, arrests, and seizures since at least 2007. Witnesses even told federal investigators that Johnson in 2007 yelled “bring me some Mexicans” while pounding his fists on a table during a staff meeting.

Although a federal judge ultimately dismissed the lawsuit filed against Sheriff Johnson, the office's egregious civil rights abuses were exposed. In response, Immigration and Customs Enforcement terminated its 287(g) agreement — a program that authorizes local deputies to perform functions of federal immigration agents — with Johnson and stripped him and his deputies of the authority to investigate potential immigration violations by individuals detained in the county jail.

But that was then and this is now.

Last week, the county’s commissioners approved Sheriff Johnson’s request for a $2.8 million budget increase for staffing and facility upgrades at the county detention facility to hold immigrants for ICE. Under the renewed partnership, the same sheriff who ICE terminated its relationship with in 2012 for discriminatory policing will once again detain immigrants — including those seeking asylum — and be reimbursed for it with federal funds. In Trump’s America, law enforcement officials who abuse their authority aren’t investigated, or at least shunned, but rewarded with taxpayer money.

The potential for abuse and the violation of immigrant and Latinx rights in Alamance County is terrifying and unacceptable, particularly when Johnson used fearmongering and false, racist statements about immigrant populations to get the money. During the meeting on the budgetary request, Sheriff Johnson told the county’s board of commissioners that “criminal illegal immigrants” are “actually raping our citizens in many, many ways.”

The renewed partnership between ICE and Sheriff Johnson once again illuminates the civil rights disasters that occur when local law enforcement partners with the federal government to do federal immigration enforcement. Such agreements can frighten community members from reporting crimes and from seeking even the most basic assistance from law enforcement. In other words, such agreements do not enforce the rule of law. They undermine it as well as harm public safety. 

Sheriff Johnson has already proven that any collaboration with ICE will inevitably lead to racial profiling and deepen the rift between immigrant communities and Alamance County law enforcement. By engaging in this new collaboration, both Sheriff Johnson and the Trump administration will continue to compromise public safety and equal protection under the law.

No one, including members of our immigrant communities, should be treated as a source of revenue for law enforcement — whether it’s in Alamance County or anywhere else across the United States.

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Ms. Gloria Anasyrma

"Latinx"? "Non-binary gender"? Who keeps making up these new expressions? When I make up new expressions people get annoyed.

Anonymous

The ACLU is not a part of the United States government they are and will destroy America be careful furthermore the ACLU needs to be schooled you can just about bet none of them have served their country as the veterans have stood up and put their lives on the line for your right to be an American

Ms. Gloria Anasyrma

If wasn't for the ACLU, you would not be able to take part in the Gay Pride Parade anymore.

Anonymous

Must see 2005 documentary “Why We Fight”. It includes commentary from the Allied WW Two Commander at D-Day, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and military leaders from recent wars. Many women would not be able to serve in some police or military positions if it were not for the ACLU. Guessing that some of those brave female veterans, that risked life & limb for their country, are ACLU members.

Ms. Gloria Anasyrma

If it wasn't for the ACLU we would have a hammer and sicyle fluttering over our heads.

Anonymous

You know that the ACLU lawyers aren’t veterans and they will never fight for AMERICAN CITIZENS freedom just like the illegal aliens,tsp, dreamers, visa overstayer and asylum seekers.

Anonymous

The proud home of Elon University

Anonymous

I like this sheriff.sound like he is following the law send them back to Mexico

Anonymous

Sounds like you missed some English education classes.

Anonymous

Malcontents just doing their jobs. It becomes evil when they laugh in the face of victims' pain.

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