GARNER, N.C. (WNCN) – It was standing-room-only at St. Mary, Mother of the Church in Garner as law enforcement officials, including Garner’s police chief and the Wake County Sheriff tried to ease fears in the immigrant community.
Wake County does participate in a federal program that allows trained deputies to enforce certain immigration laws, but Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said law-abiding county residents shouldn’t fear his deputies.
“If a drug dealer tells you, ‘You tell on me, I’ll tell ’em you’re undocumented.’ We don’t care. We are not gonna ask you, I promise you that,” Harrison said.
Activist David Salazar said that, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, there has been a growing fear among undocument immigrants.
“For people, it’s very very concerning right now,” he said.
“Some of the kids have concerns that when they come back from school their parents won’t be there,” said Geraldine Rodriguez.
After rumors swirled about immigration checkpoints, Durham police announced earlier this week that they’re giving the checkpoints up to “dispel fears.”
Harrison didn’t go that far.
“I’ll still have checkpoints, but it’s not for you,” he said.
Several people at the meeting said they’d like to see a way for undocumented immigrants to get driving privileges to go to school and work.
Harrison said he supports the concept, but the details get bogged down in politics.
“It would make our life a lot easier,” he said. “The problem that you run into, there are so many fictitious ID’s out there. And that’s what you’ve got to overcome.” :
Harrison said nothing has changed in terms of how his office deals with immigrants, since Trump’s election.