REIDSVILLE - On Wednesday, March 11, the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office announced their participation in the Federal Warrant Service Officer program, which gives deputies working in the county jail the authority to serve administrative arrest warrants on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and transfer undocumented immigrants in their jail to ICE’s custody. 

The American Civil Liberties Union, American Friends Service Committee of the Carolinas, Carolina Justice Policy Center, Colectivo NC, Comité Acción Popular, Comité Popular Somos Raleigh, Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas (CIMA), Comunidad Colectiva, Poder NC Action, El Pueblo, Siembra NC, Southeast Asian Coalition, YWCA Latino Family Center, and other organizations condemn Rockingham County’s participation in the Federal Warrant Service Officer program.

 “Our detention hotline regularly gets calls from people detained on ICE holds in Sam Page’s jail, and we have supported several families of people held for pickup by ICE after they had been declared free to go by local magistrates,” said Kelly Morales of Siembra NC. “This agreement will build on his current practice of violating the 4th Amendment rights of immigrants in Rockingham County. It won’t make anyone safer, if anything, it will undermine the already limited trust in local law enforcement.

“This program is 287(g) agreements reincarnated, and it is the latest attack from the Trump administration’s inhumane deportation machine that increasingly targets immigrants with deeply rooted lives in the United States”, said Stefania Arteaga, Acting Regional Immigrants’ Rights Strategist. “By participating in this program, the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office is signing up to act as an arm of ICE. Rockingham County should not lend its resources to a program that does nothing to protect the community, and instead undermines public safety, community trust, and betrays the best of this nation’s values.”   

Study after study shows that local law enforcement cooperation with ICE does not make communities safer. Last year, voters in North Carolina’s two largest counties – Mecklenburg and Wake – elected sheriffs who campaigned on promises, now fulfilled, to end their county’s involvement in the federal 287(g) program, a partnership with federal immigration officers that has led to the deportation of thousands from North Carolina. Sheriffs in Buncombe, Forsyth, Guilford, and Durham counties have also announced that they will no longer hold people in jail on ICE detainer requests.