‘The decision to end this law enforcement agreement leaves them to reoffend…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) The growing urban–rural divide in America isn’t just about politics, but also law enforcement, public safety and illegal immigration.
According to Pew Charitable Trusts, urban areas are increasingly backing out of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement partnerships—especially the 287(g) program—as smaller counties in rural and conservative areas are joining up.
Like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina embraced sanctuary-city status last year when voters elected Sheriff Gary McFadden, a Democrat. Mecklenburg County encompasses Charlotte, a city with twice the population of Atlanta.
McFadden campaigned exclusively on ending the 287(g) partnership, which allows local law enforcement to assist federal ICE agents in detaining criminal illegal aliens once they are released from custody or county jail.
McFadden killed the partnership within hours of taking office, and even celebrated with a cake frosted with an anti-287(g) message on top.
“We need to build trust with a community that does not trust us,” McFadden declared.
But state Rep. George Cleveland, a Republican from Onslow County, population 194,000, told Pew that “with the cost of illegal immigrants to the state, not to mention the crimes committed by illegals, I would think a law-enforcement officer would want to do all he could to rid the state of the problem, including participation in 287(g).”
Overall, the number of ICE partnerships has more than doubled, to about 75, with 45 of them created since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
A steady increase in criminal illegal alien arrests, however, has declined due to big-city sheriffs backing out.
Arrests under the 287(g) program spiked from fewer than 300 a month during President Obama’s final year in office, to 945 in January 2018. But arrests have declined ever since, according to the latest data available.
In December, an Atlanta-based ICE field office director responded to McFadden’s decision, telling WBTV in Charlotte that area residents can now expect a more visible ICE presence in their community—effectively backfiring McFadden’s pro-sanctuary position.
“The Mecklenburg County sheriff’s decision to restrict cooperation with ICE serves as an open invitation to aliens who commit criminal offenses that Mecklenburg County is now a safe haven for persons seeking to evade federal authorities,” the ICE director said.
In fiscal year 2018, the Mecklenburg County 287(g) program processed 1,185 criminal aliens, the director said.
“The decision to end this law enforcement agreement leaves them to reoffend against the people of Mecklenburg County,” he added.