CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Comunidad Colectiva, a grassroots community organization focused on advocating for and protecting the human rights of immigrants in Charlotte, released a statement Wednesday morning claiming at least a dozen people have been arrested as a part of targeted raids by I.C.E.
“This morning more than a dozen immigrant neighbors were arrested in the streets of Charlotte by I.C.E.,” claims the statement from the organization. “These arrests come after a workplace raid in Sanford, N.C. and threats by I.C.E. to target immigrants following the end of the 287g program in several counties, including Mecklenburg.”
Comunidad Colectiva spokesperson Stefania Arteaga said she believes the amount of people arrested is actually around 20-30 people but they are staying conservative with numbers because community members are still “trying to reach their loved ones.”
Bryan D. Cox, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, replied to a request for information on the arrests in Charlotte this morning by stating, “ICE conducts targeted immigration arrests everyday as part of its ongoing mission to enforce federal immigration law. ICE has multiple offices in North Carolina, to include Charlotte, and the presence of ICE officers locally is not new.”
Arteaga told WBTV they have received eyewitness accounts of ICE agents arresting or detaining people in north, northwest and east Charlotte.
Live video recorded on their Facebook page shows people being detained on Central Avenue and Eastway Drive.
Arteaga calls the sweep a “wide operation” by I.C.E. across North Carolina. She said immigrant neighbors in Charlotte are in a “state of chaos.”
Congresswoman Alma Adams tweeted a link to WBTV’s article Wednesday morning adding her office is in contact with the Department of Homeland Security and ICE looking for answers.
“The raids occurring in our district today appear to be related to a worksite action. In the past year, the Trump Administration has conducted an increased number of these raids and that is an issue of deep concern,” Adams said. “I have been in communication with ICE and other Department of Homeland Security officials. My office is here to help anyone who has been impacted by these raids and rest assured, we will continue to press the Administration for answers.”
At large Charlotte City Council member Braxton Winston also tweeted the “actions of today do not help keep our city safer & erode the fragile trust between too many groups of citizens and our gvt. These actions inequitably target people that live in the margins of our communities. This is especially true for black and brown people.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement told WBTV they do not conduct any type of random or indiscriminate enforcement; “the agency focuses first and foremost on criminal offenders and other public safety threats. The agency’s arrest stats clearly reflect this reality.”
Cox also passed along the local field office arrest statistics in 2018:
Atlanta field office ICE administrative arrest stats: (Georgia and the Carolinas) FY18: 15,189 arrests, 9,490 convicted criminal – 62 percent, (additional 4,464 with pending criminal charges – 29 percent) = 91 percent of arrests pending criminal charges or prior conviction.