Increased ICE presence in NC a good thing, says one immigrant living in Charlotte

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LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 14: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), agents detain an immigrant on October 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. ICE agents said the immigrant, a legal resident with a Green Card, was a convicted criminal and member of the Alabama Street Gang in the Canoga Park area. ICE builds deportation […]

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – When we told you about ICE raids in North Carolina increasing about four times over – from about 50 per week to around 200 – a lot of you started talking about the immigration debate.

How does it impact our community?

One immigrant from South America thinks the increase in ICE raids are a good thing.

Elaine Primo says she worked for years to come to the United States legally. She believes people who don’t go through that process are disrespecting the country and harming other immigrants.

“They don’t have no respect for the law,’ said Primo. “You break the law. You are here illegally, then you have the nerve to attack the system.”

That immigration system took Elaine Primo about 3 years to get through.

She’s from Guyana in South America.

“You hear so much about America, you know you want to come and get the opportunities,” said Primo.

Primo says her opportunity came true when her paperwork went through and she immigrated to the United States in 1983.

“I decided to obey and come in the right way,’ said Primo. “When I first come I work in a factory.”

Years later, Primo has built a life in America. Now she takes care of her daughter in Charlotte.

They like watching the news together.

Lately, with all the news of ICE raids, Primo thinks of her own immigration story.

“It’s not fair to tell one people well look you do it the right way and go through the process,” said Primo. Some people just come and want everything on a silver platter.”

Some community members disagree with Primo’s perspective.

“These are people’s lives we’re talking about, people that have set projections for the jobs, their lives their careers,” said Stefania Arteaga with Comunidad Colectiva.

Arteaga believes undocumented immigrants being deported by ICE is wrong.

“It makes people feel uncomfortable, it makes people scared. You know, that fear of being deported,” said one man in Charlotte.

The immigration debate in our community has gotten Governor Roy Cooper’s attention, too.

“I do worry that raids like this can separate families and cause fear in communities that don’t deserve to have that fear,” said Governor Cooper.

Primo said she understands people who try to come to the US for a better life, as she did the same, but says the ICE arrests are necessary to keep people immigrating legally.

“Everybody want a better life,” said Primo. “If people realize they will get away with it, they are going to continue doing it.”

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners are talking about the ICE raids and how it has impacted our community in their meeting on Tuesday, February 19 at the Government Center.

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