CHARLOTTE, N.C. — ICE agents have been more visible on the streets of Charlotte in the last six months as the threat of a nationwide roundup of undocumented immigrants looms.
Even though Charlotte is not on that countrywide list of cities ICE plans to hit, business at Manolo’s Bakery on Central Avenue was slow over the weekend.
“But like yesterday, 10 in the morning, this was dead, man,” Manolo Betancur said Monday. “It was a very slow day.”
People stayed home out of fear, he said.
“There's a lot of hesitance amongst the Latino immigrant community, a lot of fear of going out, a lot of fear of bringing their children to afterschool programs,” said Stefania Arteaga, who is with the community organization Comunidad Colectiva.
Arteaga said they haven't heard of any ICE activity locally in the last couple of days but many feel it's just a matter of time.
ICE released a statement Monday, saying that for safety reasons “the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations” but when they do, they’ll focus on those who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”
That is little comfort for Betancur.
“And my own fear, like, what am I going to do if my customers don't come here?” Betancur said. “What am I going to do if my employees leave the city?”
Full Statement from ICE:
“Due to law enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations. As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.
“In fact, 90% of aliens arrested by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations component in FY2018 had either a criminal conviction(s), pending criminal charge(s), were an ICE fugitive or illegally reentered the country after previously being removed.
“However, all of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and – if found removable by final order – removal from the United States.”
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