CHARLOTTE, N.C. - ICE officials sent Channel 9 a list Wednesday of potentially dangerous immigrants released from the Mecklenburg County jail before the immigration enforcement agency could detain them.
On the same day, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden said that he’s offended that immigration officers and the U.S. attorney are blaming him.
ICE officials and the U.S. attorney are upset that a dangerous domestic violence suspect who is in the country illegally got out of jail twice.
Sean Gallagher supervises ICE operations in Georgia and the Carolinas.
“I said in December that these releases of these dangerous criminals was going to have a negative impact on Charlotte, and sadly this is true,” Gallagher said Thursday.
McFadden bristled at the criticism he has gotten over the release of potentially dangerous criminals who would have been kept in jail under the 287(g) program that he chose not to continue.
“I am very disappointed in ICE for wanting to blame me,” McFadden said.
He didn’t directly mention the case of Luis Pineda-Ancheta that brought this issue to the forefront.
He is the immigrant from Honduras who was in the U.S. illegally and released twice, even after he allegedly tried to strangle his girlfriend and started a nine-hour standoff.
ICE officials and U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray publicly questioned McFadden’s position and suggested he was playing politics with public safety.
McFadden earlier said that their criticism was unprofessional.
“So, I dare anyone to say that I am not public-safety concerned about that,” McFadden said. “Come to the streets where I am. Come to the barbershops where I go. Come to the neighborhoods where no one dares to go and go to the neighborhood you’re not familiar with.
ICE officials said they would make more public arrests in the community after McFadden ended the 287(g) program.
A painter shot video Tuesday morning of an ICE operation at a mobile home park near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in west Charlotte.
Five painters were in two vans on their way to work when an SUV driven by ICE agents cut them off.
As the agents approached, the driver in one van and the man, who shot the video, ran.
The worker with the video told a Telemundo reporter he ran because the agent holding a gun and was afraid of being arrested and deported.
A worker who got away said they were all from Honduras and they have not been arrested or committed any crimes. They are, however, afraid of being deported anyway.
The worker said Wednesday immigration agents are not looking for people who cause trouble, but people who are working.
“So, I think what we're dealing with, right now, is just a lot of fear-mongering and language to further criminalize immigrants,” said Stefania Arteaga, with Communidand Collectiva.
ICE officials have said, on many occasions, that those kinds of arrests are what they are mandated to do: To Pick up people in the country illegally, and they plan to continue doing that.
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