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New Mecklenburg sheriff ends 287(g) immigration program

There’s a new sheriff in Mecklenburg County, and one of his first orders of business was ending the 287(g) program there, a partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that funds local law enforcement agencies to engage in federal immigration enforcement activities.

Sheriff Gary McFadden, the first Black sheriff to be elected in Mecklenburg, made the announcement Wednesday about ending the program. Since it began in 2006, the 287(g) agreement has led to the deportation of 15,000 Mecklenburg residents, according to the ACLU of North Carolina.

During the 2018 elections for sheriff in Mecklenburg and Wake counties, the ACLU invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a nonpartisan campaign to educate voters about the candidates’ positions on crucial civil rights issues, including the 287(g) program.

Voters responded by electing McFadden and new Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker, who both vowed during their campaigns to end 287(g) programs and voters elected them both.

“Voters made it clear that Mecklenburg County should not help fuel the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda, and we are glad to see the new sheriff hold himself to that promise,” said Karen Anderson, Executive Director of the ACLU of NC. “The 287(g) program encourages widespread racial profiling, diverts local law enforcement resources, and harms relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. We applaud Sheriff McFadden’s quick action to implement a new model for safety and justice and will continue to work with our partners to ensure all collaboration between ICE and local law enforcement is ended in Mecklenburg.”

ACLU of NC spokesman Mike Meno said after Wake and Mecklenburg put an end to their 287(g) programs, there will only be four more counties with it in the state in Nash, Henderson, Cabarrus and Gaston.

Alamance County had applied to re-enter into a 287(g) agreement, but is considering instead entering into a separate agreement to hold ICE detainees.

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