Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) has urged Congress to pass legislation holding sanctuary counties responsible for their failure to comply with federal immigration authorities.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), roughly 500 illegal immigrants have been set free from jails across North Carolina since October 2018 even though federal detainers had been issued against them.
As WBTV explains, "A detainer is an administrative request from the federal government to a local law enforcement agency to hold someone in jail even after they are eligible for release on their state charge. A detainer is often used by ICE to keep undocumented immigrants in jail because removal from the country is a civil action and not a criminal matter." WBTV noted, “According to the new ICE data obtained by WBTV, the nearly 500 undocumented immigrants who have been released in FY19 despite a federal detainer include people charged with sex offenses, kidnapping, arson and homicide."
The Charlotte Observer reported in December 2018, on his first day on the job, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden ended the county’s 287 (g) program. ICE noted of the program, "This section of law authorizes the Director of ICE to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, that permit designated officers to perform limited immigration law enforcement functions."
ICE Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Gallagher issued a statement to the Charlotte Observer condemning McFadden’s withdrawal of the program, asserting that it "will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests instead of arrests at the jail where enforcement is safer for everyone involved … In Fiscal Year 2018 the Mecklenburg County 287g program encountered 1,185 criminal aliens; yesterday’s decision to end this law enforcement agreement leaves them to reoffend against the people of Mecklenburg County." ICE pointed out that it had "has 287(g) agreements with 78 law enforcement agencies in 20 states."