North Carolinians Voted to End Cooperation With Trump’s Deportation Force. ICE Retaliated.

President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security frequently claims to be motivated by a dedication to law and order, but its immigration enforcement tactics are often directly contrary to local communities’ legal and electoral choices.

Recent raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in North Carolina were a failed attempt to achieve by force what was soundly rejected at the ballot box last November: Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. ICE targeted places and people based on democratic decisions North Carolina counties made about their policing resources and values, including upholding the Constitution.

Sweeping Change Across North Carolina

In the 2018 sheriffs’ elections in North Carolina, several long-term incumbents in Wake, Durham, Mecklenburg, Forsyth, and Henderson counties were defeated. Their successors ran — and won — on the promise of accountability to the diverse communities that they serve and against being part of Trump’s deportation force. This included the termination of 287(g) cooperation agreements with ICE that notify federal agents of the immigration status of detained individuals. Immediately, sheriffs began enacting the will of the people.

In North Carolina’s three most populous counties — Wake, Mecklenburg, and Durham — each newly elected sheriff publicly stated their intention to disentangle their local law enforcement work from federal immigration enforcement.

Sheriff Gary McFadden of Mecklenburg County and Sheriff Gerald Baker of Wake County both publicly ended their 287(g) programs, joining other major cities’ counties like Harris (Houston) and Los Angeles in considering 287(g) to be harmful to community policing by frightening residents and an unjustified subsidy of federal immigration enforcement by local budgets that have other public safety priorities. Law enforcement leaders such as the Major Cities Chiefs Association say that entangling federal immigration enforcement with state and local policing, as 287(g) does, is mistaken.

In the months since their elections, sheriffs in Forsyth and Henderson counties have now both also made statements about their interest in disentangling from their relationships with ICE. Sheriff Lowell Griffin in Henderson County has stated that their 287(g) program, set to expire at the end February, drains his office of essential financial resources, although it remains to be seen if he will renew the program despite the financial losses incurred by his office.

In Forsyth County, Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough has stated that he will no longer honor ICE detainer requests and will require a judicial warrant: “We will not be an extension of immigrant investigations.” He also expressed concern saying, “Basically, I’m detaining somebody’s Fourth Amendment right without due process.”

ICE’s Retaliatory Detention Rampage in North Carolina

ICE engaged in a five-day statewide operation in North Carolina starting Feb. 5. ICE targeted the three counties — Wake, Durham, and Mecklenburg — where sheriffs have publicly ended their collaboration with ICE.

The operation resulted in the detention of over 200 immigrants and was admittedly haphazard in nature, resulting in ICE detaining at least 60 immigrants who were not targets of ICE immigration enforcement, but were simply in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”

In defending the raids, ICE officials directed their ire at local law enforcement for ending collaboration with ICE. ICE Field Office Director Sean Gallagher named “the dangerous policies of not cooperating with ICE,” as the impetus for the operation.

Gallagher went so far as to confirm the indiscriminate detention of immigrants that are not ICE priorities for immigration enforcement, saying, “If these [287(g)] programs would be in place, I wouldn’t have to put so many officers on the street [...] and you would have less people — like you were talking about — workers going to work that would be arrested. Absolutely.”

Sheriffs upholding the Constitution are refusing to break the law, not declining to enforce it. But ICE Southern Region Communications Director Bryan Cox was intentionally misleading in alleging a lack of cooperation. He said, “The reality is now given that the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department will no longer cooperate with ICE, ICE has no choice but to send its officers into the community, into neighborhoods, into workplaces to make those same arrests.” ICE is aware of every person booked into these jails through fingerprint sharing: If they want to detain someone, all that’s needed — like from every other law enforcement agency — is a warrant that’s independently issued by a judge and supported by the Constitution’s probable cause requirement.

Fighting Back: North Carolinians Are Standing Firm

In the wake of ICE’s coercive and retaliatory operations across North Carolina, community groups are taking up the important work of rapid response and community building. Groups like Siembra NC, Familia Si, 287(g) No, CIMA, Comunidad Colectiva, Comite Popular Somos Raleigh, and Comite de Accion Popular are mobilizing with allies to support sheriffs who protect their residents’ rights and put serving their communities first.

We support this broad coalition, which includes faith-based and nonprofit organizations, and call on Gov. Roy Cooper to condemn the retaliatory ICE operation in North Carolina. We also call on ICE to be transparent and report publicly about how, where, and why each individual was detained during the operation. North Carolinians voted last November for community policing and respecting the Fourth Amendment, and ICE’s scare tactics won’t roll back our progress.

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The Immigration and Nationality Act grants statutory authority to ICE officials to arrest aliens without a warrant issued by a judge, and an ICE detainer is a legal request to hold a person in custody for no more than 48 hours to allow an ICE officer to take custody of an alien. The detainer is lodged after probable cause has been established by a fingerprint match and/or voluntary interview, so the "intentionally misleading" statement in this article isn't from Mr. Cox, but from the authors and misguided Sheriffs who presume that honoring an ICE detainer is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. You also are conflating two important but separate issues related to cooperation with ICE. Counties do not have to have a 287(g) program which can be argued is a drain on their resources. Honoring detainers, however, is a separate issue. Defying the request from ICE to notify and hold for transfer an alien from a facility is lawlessness and endangering the community by returning criminals who should not even be present in this country back into the community to commit more crimes, and as the Atlanta Field Office Director pointed out, puts otherwise law abiding aliens at greater risk for deportation due to increased ICE field arrests of the aliens released by the county or state.


Congress sometimes passes “illegal” legislation and sometimes presidents sign those illegal authorities into law (temporarily). Presidents also sometimes enact “illegal” executive orders. The Judicial Branch Court System can then overturn that illegal legislation using an authority called “Judicial Review”. A great metaphor is like football: Congress, state legislatures, presidents and governors [Legislative and Executive Branches] can legally play anywhere on the football field as long as they don’t step “out-of-bounds”. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights are the out-of-bounds boundaries. Everyone should read the clear text of the 4th Amendment - it’s pretty clear what’s required for a search. The U.S. Supreme Court [referees] have ruled that long-term tracking of any kind is a “search” under the 4th Amendment and requires judicial warrants. In order to change the letter & spirit of any constitutional amendment or article [official rulebook] requires a constitutional amendment. It sounds like we have some illegal (and temporary) legislation that is about to be overturned by the courts for being out-of-bounds!


Hmmm. Apparently the First Amendment not so important to the ACLU who deletes a comment that contradicts their propaganda.


Do you think the first amendment applies to private companies. If a company has been databasing your purchases through private marketing, can they sell it without your consent, knowledge, or payment to you for its use? I don't think so. But let's drill down . . . if you live in a State whose laws say recreational marijuana use is legal, can the store that sells you your source keep historical records of your purchases tied to your state identification? Keep in mind, if I were to go to the liquor store and get recreational alcohol, they don't keep historical records of my tequila purchases to my name. Can they the store, as a private organization and then sell my historical usage, or broker that information for other purposes? (Like Facebook perhaps) Do they have a first amendment "privilege" to freely disseminate a person's historical use information with or without a published privacy statement? Can they be hacked of their database historical information of people's purchases, and not be sued for negligence with private and State information -- since they as a private entity have a 1st amendment freedom of speech. None of this is sensible, the 1st amendment applies to government censorship; private entities have exposure in their practices which can have Tort ramifications for the damage done. Do you hold ACLU responsible for protecting against a negligent point of view? Where's your standing and what are your damages?


Illegal aliens are suing the government again which means that the AMERICAN TAXPAYERS have pay again to lawbreakers. WHY DOESN’T THE AMERICAN CITIZENS SUE THEM FOR ALL THE MONEY THAT WE HAVE SEND TO COUNTRIES AND ALL THE RESOURCES THAT WE SPEND ON KEEPING THEM OUT. Who pay for their medical care when they are rescued from the Rio Grande River or the desert?why it the American taxpayers that who.
They act like the American taxpayers are responsible for them and their children. As American taxpayers I am responsible for American citizens, children and veterans not weak spineless cowards of people. I am for one that ICE is making these raids against companies who employed illegal aliens most of illegal aliens will use American citizens social security number or some illegal information and they cry i didn’t know. Illegal aliens children pay the price because they parents selfish by coming through the back door instead of the front door. Than they have anchor babies so that they don’t have to be deported or put in to detention. America as laws that every American citizens but the illegal aliens have a different set of laws for them which they get away with breaking them. Every illegal aliens howling about being deported back to their own countries and being picked on by ICE if you are illegally here that what happens.


The holiday of Thanksgiving is when our ancestors were the illegal aliens and they having anchor babies. Most of us are derived from those anchor babies. The Americans back then - American Indians - prevented our illegal ancestors from starving to death. Unless you are 100% Native American, you probably got here illegally.


Did you blame them for the $22 trillion in U.S. federal debt yet? That would make you appear an even greater victim for everyone to see.




If you are here illegally, you have broken the law, period. Deport them all and send their anchor babies back with them. Too much American tax paying money is being given to them freely and they send billions back to their home countries also. Sickening.


Good comment. Every thing you say is true.


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