Nearly 500 illegal aliens have been released from North Carolina jails in the last 10 months, ignored detainer requests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The 10 months cover the duration of the 2019 fiscal year, which began in October of last year and ends Sept 30.
Charges against the released illegal aliens in North Carolina included homicide, kidnapping, arson, and sex offenses.
Detainers are requests made by ICE to local authorities. When an illegal alien is arrested for an unrelated crime, federal immigration authorities will lodge a detainer request to the detention center holding the suspect, asking them to hold the individual for no longer than 48 hours in order to allow an agent to reach the facility and apprehend the individual, WBTV explains.
However, many localities have passed “sanctuary” laws that prohibit police from honoring ICE detainers, claiming that the apprehension of illegal aliens is solely the responsibility of the federal government.
The debate over whether local authorities should cooperate with ICE detainers has taken place within North Carolina. Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden announced he would no longer honor detainer requests from ICE.
The federal agency has since responded by putting out a list of 22 illegal aliens released by Mecklenburg County, many of whom had been charged with heinous crimes such as rape and assault.
North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Legislature passed a bill that called on local law enforcement officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, legislation that would effectively end and prevent sanctuary policies within the state.
However, Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said in August that the legislation is aiming to score partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina. “This bill, in addition to being unconstitutional, weakens law enforcement in North Carolina by mandating sheriffs to do the job of federal agents, using local resources that could hurt their ability to protect their counties,” said Cooper.