MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — At the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, two men without uniforms grabbed Manuel Marquez, who showed up for court.
Attorney Rex Marvel asked who the men were, and one of them said they were agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"Seizing people outside of the courtroom causes chaos, and there was chaos this morning on the first floor,” Marvel said.
Past 287 (g) coverage
- Sheriff McFadden begins tenure by ending ICE's 287(g) program in Mecklenburg County
- Suspect accused of violent crime out of jail due to 287(g) ending
- Abolishing 287(g) could lead to more arrests of undocumented immigrants
- Gaston County sheriff standing firm on sticking with 287(g) program
Marquez was arrested earlier this month, accused of impersonating an officer and attempting a traffic stop.
Police said he had red and blue lights, an ICE badge and cocaine at the time.
Marvel, who isn't representing Marquez, said the arrest by ICE agents in the courthouse sends a message to anyone in the Latin American community.
"Individuals who might be victims of cases may also, and are likely, going to be deterred from coming to court,” Marvel said.
Last month, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gary McFadden eliminated the 287 (g) program, which allowed deputies to look up immigration status and hold individuals without proper documentation in jail.
In the past, U.S. immigration officials told Channel 9 that the courthouse is not off limits and that there would be more public arrests if 287 (g) ended.
Marcus Philemon, founder of Courtwatch, said without 287 (g), ICE should go to such lengths to arrest anyone considered dangerous.
"I think he's a danger to the community,” Philemon said. “They're forced to do their job differently, but they still have a job to do."
McFadden told Channel 9 he was not aware of the arrest by ICE, and agents don't have to notify him, but he recommends they do tell him for the safety and security of everyone.
The sheriff says he cannot interfere with any agency carrying out their responsibilities, and ICE has territorial jurisdiction, even over a county-owned building with public access.
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