Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is proud to join more than 40 local organizations and groups in signing on to a letter asking Sheriff Irwin Carmichael to end Mecklenburg County’s 287(g) program. We urge you to read the letter below to learn about how the 287(g) program is harming our community.
As the largest non-profit legal service provider practicing before the Charlotte Immigration Court, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy continues to stand with our immigrant neighbors, advocating for inclusion and fairness under the law to ensure their safety, security and stability in our community.
Sheriff Irwin Carmichael
Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office
801 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Dear Sheriff Carmichael,
We, the undersigned organizations and community advocates, urge you to immediately end all formal collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), including the voluntary 287g agreement and ICE detainers. These policies have caused great harm to our community, they undermine public safety, deprive individuals due process, waste county resources, and expose tax payers to possible legal settlements. After 12 years and more than 15,000 deportations in Mecklenburg County because of 287g, it’s time to terminate the program and find solutions that promote community safety while protecting immigrant families.
Since the start of the 287g program in 2006, we’ve had thousands of deportations, many of them for minor infractions or misdemeanors. While your office continues to highlight a handful of cases of individuals with serious crimes, the fact is that a great majority of deportations under the 287g program are due to minor offenses. In fiscal year 2010, for example, more than 50% of ICE detainers in Mecklenburg were due to traffic violations. The Sheriff’s office is deporting fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters, disrupting and separating families in the process.
We know these stories well, people like Holman Acosta who was arrested for not having a driver’s license while on his way home from his son’s soccer game. Holman was forced to leave the country and is now living in Honduras, thousands of miles away from his U.S. citizen family. Alejandro Lopez was arrested on his way to work for not having a driver’s licence and placed in deportation proceedings because of 287g. Gus Zamudio, a DACA student from Northwest School of the Arts, was convicted of a misdemeanor and forced to accept a “voluntary departure” instead of fighting his case from Stewart Detention Center, known for its human rights violations. Gus was not able to walk in his graduation and is now living alone in Mexico.
The 287g program does not improve relations between immigrant communities and law enforcement, in fact it creates distrust and fear. Only 60 of the 3,007 counties in the United States have 287g agreements. The overwhelming majority of law enforcement agencies across the nation have declined to participate in the program. Additionally, the program runs counteractive to the efforts of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department to build trust with the immigrant community.
Legal actions have been taken against the program in several jurisdictions across the country, exposing localities to pay costly settlements, all covered with taxpayer dollars. Besides the possible liability, 287g focuses the county’s scarce resources in a strategy that has not been independently proven to decrease crime. While the federal government covers some of the cost associated with this program, localities cover most of the expenses. In the first year of the program, the estimated cost of 287g in Mecklenburg County was $5.3 million, it is unclear how much money it has cost taxpayers since then because the Sheriff’s office has refused to publicize this information.
It is because of these reasons that we demand that as a public servant tasked with the responsibility to protect and serve the community of Mecklenburg County, you terminate the voluntary 287g program and refuse to honor ICE holds in county jails. These demands are in line with the 2015 Charlotte’s Immigration Integration Task Force recommendations. We believe that Mecklenburg County should be a place where all people feel welcomed, safe, and protected.
- ACLU of North Carolina
- Action NC
- Alerta Migratoria
- American Friends Service Committee
- Antoine Ensley, Candidate for Mecklenburg County Sheriff
- CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
- Camino Church
- Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy
- Charlotte Democratic Socialists of America
- Charlotte Latin Pride
- Charlotte Pride
- Charlotte Women’s March
- Charlotte Uprising
- El Centro Hispano, Inc.
- Emily Zimmern, Co-Chair Charlotte’s Immigration Integration Task Force 2015
- Familias Unidas
- Garry McFadden, Candidate for Mecklenburg County Sheriff
- HANA Center
- Indivisible NC District 9
- Jamie Hildreth, Candidate for County Commissioner At-Large
- Justice & Respect in the Reinforcing Industry Coalition (JRRIC)
- Korean Resource Center
- Latin American Coalition
- Latino Commission On AIDS
- Meck PAC (Mecklenburg LGBTQ Polical Action Committee)
- National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)
- National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
- National Korean American Service & EducationConsortium (NAKASEC)
- National Organization for Women (N.O.W) Charlotte
- New South Progressives
- North Carolina Asian Americans Together
- Rev. Leach, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte
- Safety, Accountability, Fairness, Equity (SAFE) Coalition NC
- Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN)
- Siembra NC
- Sil Ganzo, Founder of ourBRIDGE for Kids
- Southeast Asian Coalition (SEAC)
- Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice
- Students for Education Reform National
- Students for Education Reform NC
- UNC Charlotte’s Center for Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Studies
- Unidad Nacional de Hispanos Aliados (UNISAL)
1 Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department, ICE Report 1/29/2018,
2 Hannah Gill and Mai Thi Nguyen, The 287(g) Program: The Costs and Local Immigration Enforcement
in North Carolina Communities . The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010.
3 Randy Capps, Delegation and Divergence: A Study of 287(g) State and Local Immigration Enforcement . Migration Policy Institute, 2011.
4 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Delegation of Immigration Section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act, 01/10/18. https://www.ice.gov/287g
5 American Immigration Council. The 287(g) Program: An Overview , 2017.
6 Hannah Gill and Mai Thi Nguyen, The 287(g) Program: The Costs and Local Immigration Enforcement in North Carolina Communities . The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010
7 Charlotte City Government. Immigration Integration Task Force Report, 2015.