Weeks after Judicial Watch reported that the sheriff of North Carolina’s biggest county released numerous violent illegal immigrant criminals from custody, new federal stats reveal that the problem is statewide. Nearly 500 offenders with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers have been discharged into communities throughout the Tar Heel State this fiscal year, which doesn’t end until next month so the number is likely to grow. A Charlotte news outlet obtained the latest figures from ICE, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In the article a senior DHS source condemns North Carolina law enforcement officials, reminding them that they are obstructing federal law and endangering the American public.
So far 489 illegal aliens with ICE detainers have been discharged from North Carolina jails in the last ten months, including those charged with serious crimes such as homicide, kidnapping, arson and sex offenses. The new data does not break down which county jail the perpetrators were released from, but we know from previous disclosures that Mecklenburg County, the state’s largest, is notorious for protecting illegal aliens from the feds. In fact, when the current sheriff, Garry McFadden got elected in 2018, he immediately ended a program known as 287(g) that notifies ICE of jail inmates in the country illegally.
The program enhances the safety and security of communities by creating partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify and remove aliens who are amenable to removal from the United States. It is a mutually beneficial agreement, ICE says, that identifies, arrests and serves warrants and detainers of incarcerated foreign-born criminals. The program has identified and removed from the U.S. gang members, sex offenders and murderers and has reduced the number of criminal offenders that are released back into communities. “Federal, state and local officers working together provide a tremendous benefit to public safety through increased law enforcement communication and overall community policing effectiveness,” according to ICE.
But Mecklenburg County proudly offers illegal aliens sanctuary and evidently that includes violent offenders. ICE recently disclosed that McFadden’s agency has freed more than 20 serious criminals, including rapists, child molesters, kidnappers, burglars, and those charged with gun-related and drug crimes. Most of the illegal immigrants are from Central America and Mexico, but a few are from India, Afghanistan, Liberia and Sri Lanka. Among them is Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, a previously deported Honduran charged with rape and child sex offenses.
Thankfully, ICE arrested him last month during a targeted enforcement operation because Mecklenburg County law enforcement officials released him from custody despite his violent history. The federal agency accused Mecklenburg County of releasing a serious public safety threat onto the streets of Charlotte where he was free to potentially harm others for nearly two months until his capture by ICE. “The Mecklenburg County sheriff’s decision to restrict cooperation with ICE serves as an open invitation to aliens who commit criminal offenses that Mecklenburg County is a safe haven for persons seeking to evade federal authorities, and residents of Mecklenburg County are less safe today than last year due these policies,” the agency’s regional director said in a statement.
Incredibly, a growing number of local municipalities offer illegal immigrants sanctuary and refuse to cooperate with federal authorities, even when it involves dangerous criminals. Just a few months ago Judicial Watch reported that various California law enforcement agencies released 16 illegal immigrants with criminal records during a three-month period. Some were arrested and released multiple times by the same local law enforcement agency after committing felonies.
In all of the cases, ICE issued detainers but local police ignored the federal agency to protect the illegal alien from deportation, instead freeing the perpetrator back into the community. Offenders include Mexican, Honduran and Salvadoran nationals charged with murder, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse, driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of illegal drugs and other serious crimes. One 23-year-old Honduran man was booked and released in San Francisco ten times in less than a year for crimes ranging from burglary, vehicle theft and driving without a license. In each of the arrests, ICE issued a detainer but the San Francisco Police Department disregarded it and let the man go.