At least 50 arrested as ICE agents conduct raids in Sanford, Charlotte, the Triad

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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 […]

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/WFMY/WBTV) — ICE raids across the state have resulted in at least 50 arrests this week, according to authorities and immigrants’ rights groups.

A Tuesday morning raid of a firearms manufacturing facility in Lee County resulted in the arrests of about 30 people.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement served federal search warrants at the Bear Creek Arsenal plant in Sanford. The company has about 250 employees, according to its website.

Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter said some of his deputies assisted ICE agents after receiving a request from federal officials.

“This was the result of an ongoing investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that dealt with identity theft and fraud. It is unclear at this time if the local business was at fault,” Carter wrote in a post on his Facebook page.

Wednesday night, people concerned after the recent ICE arrests in Sanford had the chance to get questions answered and find resources.

Officials at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church told CBS 17 at least 50 people showed up to the church for the meeting.

Those included Melanie Urizar.

“[Tuesday] was a really big impact to everybody’s lives,” Urizar said.

Urizar and Bilda Uride have questions after the arrests.

“Two families that I know of, their moms were detained at the factory,” Uride said. “If they get deported to their countries, what’s going to happen to the kids that are here? Who’s going to have custody of them or what’s going to happen?”

The meeting included those like immigration attorney Steve Monks providing help to those impacted.

“There’s a room full of people that are scared, and they need some information,” Monks said. “Is there any basis for your loved one that will be able to stay in the United States? Have you accumulated the documents that are necessary to inform a judge as to whether or not a bond will be available to them? Those are the kind of things they need to be doing right now.”

The Triad has also seen ICE raids over the last few days, immigrants’ rights group Siembra NC told WFMY News.

The group told the television station on Wednesday that the Triad has been hit the “hardest it’s ever been hit” by ICE raids in the last 48 hours.

A Siembra NC spokesperson said both in Greensboro and Burlington, ICE has detained approximately 10 people in the last two days.

In one mobile home park off of N. Church Street in Burlington, three people were detained according to Siembra. People in that community are on edge.

“The people [are] very scared,” Michy Bella said. “My daughter says ‘Mommy, mommy, you OK?’ And I say, “Yeah, I’m OK, no problem,'” she says, ‘Mommy but the people coming, ICE coming maybe even for you.'”

An ICE spokesperson did confirm a presence in both Guilford and Alamance Counties Tuesday and Wednesday. But they could not confirm the number of arrests made, because the agency doesn’t keep track of those numbers on a daily or even weekly basis.

ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox sent WFMY News 2 the following statement:

As to reports of ICE officers conducting immigration enforcement in North Carolina, ICE conducts targeted immigration arrests everyday as part of its ongoing mission to enforce federal immigration law. ICE has multiple offices in North Carolina, to include Greensboro, and the presence of ICE officers locally is not new. As to how ICE conducts enforcement — ICE does not conduct any type of random or indiscriminate enforcement; the agency focuses first and foremost on criminal offenders and other public safety threats.”

Cox said ICE agents always have a target list in hand. Meaning, ICE agents go to specific places, looking for specific persons.

Siembra NC says they expect more raids on Thursday morning, and some volunteers are going door-to-door to warn people.

In North Carolina’s biggest city, Charlotte, at least 12 have been arrested this week, according to WBTV.

Comunidad Colectiva, a grassroots community organization focused on advocating for and protecting the human rights of immigrants in Charlotte, released a statement Wednesday morning claiming at least a dozen people had been arrested as a part of targeted raids by ICE.

“[Wednesday] morning more than a dozen immigrant neighbors were arrested in the streets of Charlotte by I.C.E.,” claims the statement from the organization. “These arrests come after a workplace raid in Sanford, N.C. and threats by I.C.E. to target immigrants following the end of the 287g program in several counties, including Mecklenburg.”

Comunidad Colectiva spokesperson Stefania Arteaga said she believes the amount of people arrested is actually around 20-30 people but they are staying conservative with numbers because community members are still “trying to reach their loved ones.”

Arteaga told WBTV they have received eyewitness accounts of ICE agents arresting or detaining people in north, northwest and east Charlotte.

Live video recorded on their Facebook page shows people being detained on Central Avenue and Eastway Drive.

Arteaga calls the sweep a “wide operation” by ICE across North Carolina. She said immigrant neighbors in Charlotte are in a “state of chaos.”

Cox also passed along the local field office arrest statistics in 2018:

Atlanta field office ICE administrative arrest stats: (Georgia and the Carolinas) FY18: 15,189 arrests, 9,490 convicted criminal – 62 percent, (additional 4,464 with pending criminal charges – 29 percent) = 91 percent of arrests pending criminal charges or prior conviction.

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