Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 200 undocumented aliens in North Carolina after several counties moved to cut ties with ICE.
ICE Regional Director Sean Gallaghar said the raids were a direct result of the counties refusing to work with immigration officials.
“This is the direct conclusion of dangerous policies of not cooperating with ICE. This forces my officers to go out onto the street to conduct more enforcement,” Gallaghar said according to the Charlotte Observer.
Gallaghar added that ICE officers are forced to go out in the field in targeted raids because they no longer have access to many jails in the Tar Heel state and because county officials are not informing immigration officials of possible dangerous criminals that should be deported.
The counties of Mecklenburg and Wake, for instance, used to notify ICE of the legal status of arrestees, but new sheriffs changed that policy after recent elections. Durham Country also cut ties with ICE last year.
The increased raids in North Carolina will not end any time soon. Charlotte City Council Member Braxton Winston noted that one ICE official told him that the raids are the “new normal” since so many officials have decided to refuse to cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE officials say they are left with no choice because the county sheriffs are simply releasing dangerous criminals right back into the population.
But advocates for illegals claim that the raids are “retaliation.”
“This is not new,” said Viridiana Martinez, the organizer the Raleigh-based Alerta Migratoria. “It’s just the first time since the sheriffs have drawn the line in the sand. To me, this is clearly in retaliation.
Democrat Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead is also unhappy with the stepped-up ICE activity in his jurisdiction.
“The recent actions of ICE agents are making persons, in our community, afraid of law enforcement,” the recently elected Democrat sheriff said.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.