ICE Singles Out North Carolina County for Shielding Illegal Alien Criminals

November 1, 2019 Updated: November 1, 2019

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) singled out a sanctuary county in North Carolina, accusing the jurisdiction of shielding illegal alien criminals from federal agents.

Local authorities traditionally cooperated with federal immigration agents, alerting them when illegal aliens accused of or convicted of committing crimes were released from jail, but a growing number of jurisdictions have implemented policies barring such cooperation.

ICE released a list of 25 illegal aliens being held in the state, including four in Wake County, and said federal agents don’t know when they’ll be released.

“The only way a person is subject to an ICE detainer in Wake County is if they are handcuffed and arrested for a crime committed in the local community,” acting ICE Director Matt Albence said in a statement. “These misguided policies protect criminals, not the immigrant communities they were created to protect.”

The men have been accused of crimes including first degree rape of a child, indecent liberties with a child, and felony drug possession. Detainers were issued by ICE on the men. Detainers are a request to local law enforcement agencies to maintain custody of an alien for up to 48 hours so that ICE may assume custody and deport them.

“It is past time to put aside all the political rhetoric and listen to the facts—and the fact is, people are being hurt and victimized every day because of jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with ICE,” said Albence.

If counties don’t cooperate with ICE, Albence said, agents will be spending more time in communities hunting for illegal immigrants.

“It is my sincere desire to work with local partners to whatever extent they are willing to work with this agency in what should be our shared goal to ensure public safety,” he said. “Uncooperative jurisdictions such as Wake County should be on notice that as long as criminal offenders are being released, they should get used to seeing a lot more ICE at-large enforcement activity in their communities.”

An investigation found that child sex crime charges in North Carolina were driven by illegal immigrants; more than 331 illegal aliens have been charged with 1,172 child rapes and child sexual assaults over 18 months.

Kirk Walter Nunez-Seraios, left, an illegal alien charged with first degree rape of a child and indecent liberties with a child, and Gustavo Lopez Willalazo, who is illegally in the United States and was charged with statutory rape of a child younger than 15 as well as stalking. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

The independent researcher who compiled the data said that he found illegal aliens rape children four times more often than U.S. citizens.

ICE has criticized Wake county before, calling out the Wake County Sheriff’s Office in September for releasing a registered sex offender who is also an illegal alien.

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker declined comment but a spokesman blamed federal authorities for not securing a warrant for the alien’s arrest, something ICE said wouldn’t have been possible while the sex offender was in local custody.

Baker has accusing lawmakers who were trying to pass a bill requiring cooperation with the agency of being racist.

Sworn into office in Dec. 2018, Baker followed through on a campaign promise to end cooperation with ICE, resulting in the release of 16 illegal aliens under ICE detainers.

“Since that is a voluntary program, we withdrew from that. The detainers themselves, as we looked at those, are, again, requests. They are not court ordered. If they were court ordered, we’d have to abide by it,” Baker’s legal adviser Rick Brown told WRAL.

Baker said he wanted to focus on the people in the community.

“I’m more concerned about having them feel comfortable enough to contact this office when they need our help,” he said at the time. “That’s more important to me.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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