RALEIGH – Two new sheriffs in the Old North State’s largest counties, Mecklenburg County and Wake County, have gained national attention for their severing of cooperative agreements with federal immigration authorities. In Wake County, Sheriff Gerald Baker has been releasing illegal aliens arrested for violent crimes back into the community, instead of calling ICE to have them deported, because, he says, he wants to illegal alien communities to feel comfortable calling law enforcement. This in a county that used to rack up one of the highest annual arrest and ICE handover tallies in the country.
God forbid that people here illegally are actually held to account for their unlawful entry into our country, much less that violent criminals are removed from our communities.
The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline publication covered this national trend, pointing out that while sheriffs in urban counties (like Mecklenburg and Wake) are fleeing the ICE cooperation program 287(g), smaller rural counties are actually signing on at a steady clip.
What does this tell us? Well, the more populous counties undoubtedly have more illegal immigrants, and more of them committing crimes, so the disparity must be decidedly political. Urban centers lean Left, while rural communities tend to be more conservative, and apparently more concerned about law and order within their communities.
This is backed up by the fact that these sheriffs were voted into office as a result of massive activism campaigns funded by the open borders Left.
“Activists in North Carolina’s two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh, knocked on an estimated 12,000 doors last year to talk to voters about immigration and upcoming sheriff elections.
Thanks in part to that push, Democratic sheriff candidates in both counties won in November on a pledge to end participation in 287(g), a program that allows county sheriffs to help federal authorities deport immigrants living in the United States without authorization. The victors ousted incumbents who had pledged to keep the program in place.
Sheriff Garry McFadden celebrated by cutting a cake frosted with an anti-287(g) message when he was elected to lead the law enforcement agency in Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte. He said in a recent interview that he’s gotten “a thousand complaints and nasty messages a week” about his decision to stop the program, but he hasn’t changed his mind.
“We need to build trust with a community that does not trust us,” McFadden told Stateline. “Imagine a robbery victim afraid to call the police or witnesses afraid to come forward. That’s what we were dealing with.”
Among those complaining was Republican North Carolina state Rep. George Cleveland of Jacksonville, some 200 miles east of Charlotte, who told Stateline that “with the cost of illegal immigrants to the state, not to mention the crimes committed by illegals, I would think a law enforcement officer would want to do all he could to rid the state of the problem, including participation in 287(g).”[…]”
Rep. Cleveland has a great point. Sheriff’s are THE elected law and order enforcers, and sanctuary sheriffs like McFadden and Baker are shirking that responsibility for what must be purely political reasons that don’t stand up to common sense understanding of their sworn duty.
With the two major counties of the Old North State dropping out of the program, it made a serious dent the amount of illegals arrested (and handed over) nationally, according to Stateline.
“The two North Carolina counties that dropped out this month are the state’s most populous and had among the highest numbers of arrests nationally in the first seven months of fiscal 2018: 370 for Wake and 309 for Mecklenburg.
The only counties with more arrests during that period were Gwinnett County, Georgia, with 1,434; Clark County, Nevada, with 676; Collier County, Florida, with 471; Cobb County, Georgia, with 404; and Prince William County, Virginia, with 346. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, reelected Republican Sheriff Joe Lombardo in June.
In North Carolina, activists in both counties worked to generate voter interest in November’s sheriff election by talking about 287(g), said Robert Dawkins, organizer for the Safe Coalition in North Carolina, a criminal justice advocacy group that supervised the effort.
“We didn’t think this is what Charlotte and Raleigh wanted to be as a city,” Dawkins said. “People who were not doing anything of consequence were getting deported. We want everybody here to feel safe when they call the police or the sheriff.”
Not doing ‘anything of consequence’? Just to be clear, breaking immigration laws is ‘of consequence.’ Further, being here illegally and then committing crimes that lead to arrest, is ‘of consequence.’
It’s not just speeding infractions, either. Recently a group of illegal aliens in Union County, MS-13 members with violent criminal records among them, were arrested with five pounds of methamphetamine. Some of them had been previously arrested for assault with a deadly weapon in neighboring Mecklenburg County and, you guessed it, released instead of being handed over to ICE.
In Wake County, dozens of arrested illegals have been released back into the community since Sheriff Gerald Baker ended the cooperation policy. One of them was arrested for assault on a female, in which an infant she was holding was dropped and injured. Sheriff Baker’s policy allows that suspect to slink back into the shadows.
There are very real consequences to these policies, especially in big urban centers where it is easier for violent criminals to set up shop undetected. A very public rebuke of federal immigration authorities by county sheriffs can only serve to magnify that problem, effectively making Wake and Mecklenburg counties a magnet for illegal aliens seeking sanctuary.
For the full nationwide picture on the urban/suburban/rural dichotomy relating to the 287(g) program, read more from Staeline here.