(Paul Chesser, Liberty Headlines) Following an afternoon protest in a city park, undocumented immigrant activists shouted “no more ICE” at a Charlotte City Council meeting on Monday evening and lied about law enforcement round-ups of illegal aliens in the city.
According to NBC affiliate WCNC-TV, protesters’ chants disrupted council members’ ability to conduct the public’s business and even forced a recess. They demanded that the council “stand up” against President Donald Trump’s policies and cursed at its members, The Charlotte Observer reported. They also demanded that city taxpayers fund the legal defense of immigrants who are fighting deportation.
Protestor gets escorted out by police for disrupting the meeting. Chanting continues pic.twitter.com/g1BZjGCky5
— Dan Yesenosky (@WCNCDanY) February 28, 2017.
“My family is undocumented, and I was undocumented for a while,” said Daisy Bejarano, a Columbian immigrant. “(As a student teacher) I work with students who feel like they could come home and lose their parents.”
Chanting “No more ICE” and “Let them speak” as citizens forum ends at limit of 10 speakers pic.twitter.com/eJvqbWWPjS
— Dan Yesenosky (@WCNCDanY) February 28, 2017
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts attempted to calm the unruly mob, and urged them to turn their ire towards federal authorities.
“We know how painful it is and I appreciate the energy and concern and what you have brought here tonight,” she said. “We want to help you direct that in the right way so we can actually get the folks who have the power in immigration law to change that.”
Besides the funding for legal services, the advocates also called for Charlotte police to “use discretion” in dealing with undocumented immigrants, and asked the city council to resist a North Carolina law that keeps local governments from preventing their law enforcement from cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
Another grassroots activist, Stefania Arteaga, urged the city council to resist the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“People are getting picked up,” she told WSOC-TV, the local ABC affiliate. “That’s what’s happening. Moms and dads are not coming home to their children. I think that our city has the right to protect its citizens.”
But the police department said it doesn’t enforce federal immigration, and according to WSOC, ICE says the number of fugitive operations teams in the city has not changed in months.
“Reports of ICE checkpoints and sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible,” the agency told WSOC in a statement. “These reports create mass panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Any groups falsely reporting such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support.
“As (Homeland Security) Secretary Kelly has stated,” the statement continued, “ICE will continue to enforce our nation’s laws to protect public safety, national security, and to preserve the integrity of our immigration system.”
Whatever the protesters tried to accomplish, at least one Charlotte public servant wasn’t persuaded.
“It was a night that they lost a lot of support because of the way they acted,” said Councilwoman Claire Fallon to WSOC.
Even the media understood what the demands of the mob were.
“We’ve seen the walk-outs and protests at local schools and in uptown recently,” said WCNC reporter Dan Yesenosky, “and we may continue to see more events like Monday night’s unless Charlotte declares itself a sanctuary city.”