FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2023
Contact: Keisha Williams, [email protected]
RALEIGH, N.C. - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of North Carolina, North Carolina Justice Center, and Siembra NC, have sent a letter of complaint to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Liberties (CRCL) regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) agreement with the Alamance County Sherriff’s Office. The civil rights organizations allege that the 287(g) agreement, which delegates authority to assist in deportations to local law enforcement, hinders public safety and wastes local resources while causing profound harm to immigrant communities.
Alamance County originally entered a 287 (g) agreement in 2007. A 2012 Justice Department investigation exposed biased policing that disproportionately targeted Latinx and Black community members, leading the Obama administration to end it—but the Trump administration restarted the Alamance partnership in 2020, – this time with no expiration date.
Regarding the 287(g) agreement, Muneeba Talukder, Staff Attorney for the ACLU-NC issued the following statement:
“The federal government’s 287(g) agreement with the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office has created a climate of fear and anxiety in Alamance County, chilling community members’ access to government services, including police protection from serious crimes. The Sheriff’s Office has a proven track record of discriminatory behavior and callous disregard for civil liberties and due process – this agreement enables harmful behavior that does not make our communities safer.”
“We are requesting that the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Liberties investigate the practices undertaken by Alamance County law enforcement officers,” said Adriel D. Orozco, Staff Attorney, Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project for North Carolina Justice Center, "we hope that while investigating CRCL prioritizes listening to community members who are directly impacted by this agreement. We stand with communities of color and demand accountability from the Biden administration as well as Alamance law enforcement.”
“Last year, the Biden Administration announced that it would limit its use of the Alamance County Detention Facility for immigration purposes citing issues with conditions in the facility, particularly the lack of outdoor recreation. This complaint shows that there are many other concerns, including lack of safety, inhumane treatment, and pervasive racial profiling. We call on the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to open an investigation immediately to shed light on the adequacy of continuing to use this facility for civil immigration purposes and of continuing ICE’s partnership with Alamance County generally,” said Orozco.
The complaint, which includes disturbing personal accounts of racial profiling against long-time North Carolina residents, alarmingly foreshadows what some lawmakers would like to see across the state. The North Carolina House has passed HB10, the House’s revival of similar bills proposed in the previous two sessions that were vetoed by Governor Cooper. HB10 would force sheriffs in the state to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by requiring sheriffs to honor ICE detention requests and hold individuals charged with any crime beyond their release dates for up to 48 hours so that they can be transferred to federal immigration custody.
HB10 now awaits deliberation in the N.C. Senate and is likely to pass. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of North Carolina, North Carolina Justice Center, and Siembra NC maintains its commitment to immigrant rights and encourages community members and representatives to challenge Alamance County’s agreement with ICE and to reject HB10.