Almost 500 known illegal immigrants have been released from law enforcement custody in less than a year in North Carolina, despite ICE detainers on them, federal authorities are saying.
ICE data obtained by WBTV-TV says that in the ten-month period beginning in October 2018, 489 detainer requests were declined by law enforcement in the Tarheel State. The report doesn’t specify which jurisdictions are responsible for the figure.
That’s just under 50 immigration fugitives per month.
The news comes as the debate over sanctuary jurisdiction in the southern state has been brought to the forefront by a pair of recent cases in the Charlotte area.
In August, ICE announced that agents had arrested repeat immigration violator Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, a 33-year-old Honduran national, “during a targeted enforcement operation in Mecklenburg County.” The operation occurred “nearly two months after the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor an ICE detainer, or even notify ICE of the release, and instead released [Pacheco-Leonardo] from local criminal custody following his arrest on first-degree rape and indecent liberties with a minor charges,” the agency said.
Blaze Media later reported that the suspect had come over during the Obama administration and had previously destroyed his GPS ankle monitor, according to federal authorities.
In another case, a school district in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County area is facing a lawsuit from parents who say that their daughter was repeatedly sexually assaulted by an illegal immigrant who was allowed to serve as a school volunteer despite red flags on a background check.
At a hearing in Raleigh earlier this year, a Republican state representative called Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gary McFadden and others in the state “sanctuary sheriffs” because of their immigrant detention policies.