Durham Public Schools investigating reports of people being detained near schools

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – People living in Durham are asking mayor Steve Schewel and council members for help following reports of several ice arrests Thursday morning. 

Durham Public Schools is investigating reports of ICE detaining people near schools.  

“Parents are really just crying,” said Ivan Almonte, a community activist for undocumented immigrants living in Durham. “Like this morning, a person was arrested in front of Hillside High School. As he was taking his child to the school, he was pulled over.” 

Almonte tells CBS 17 ICE arrested at least 10 people Thursday morning. It’s impacting families.  

“Traumatized for the kids around,” he said. “They are facing all this drama, all this fear, and now because they only have just one parent right now. They are afraid that mom will be taken away.” 

He said businesses are suffering because people don’t want to leave their homes. 

“They don’t go to church. I went to this place and was like, nobody is coming here, so I had to cancel this activity. So, do you think that’s fair people to feel that way? No,” he said.   

Almonte took those concerns to Durham’s City Council Thursday. He asked for money to help those families impacted.  

“I feel helpless, and that’s hard,” said council member DeDreana Freeman. “So, I just want to acknowledge that I’m new to this, but I’m not new to the fight. So, I want to make sure that we are proactive about whatever it is that we can do.”  

CBS 17 reached out to ICE for comment on the arrests. In a text message, an ICE spokesperson responded, “We make arrests every day.”

“It’s unfair,” said Almonte. “You cannot be just every single day looking around. People are not safe.”  

The agency would not comment on any future operations, but Almonte believes the way they are going about this is not right.  

“Statements are pretty good,” he said. “But what you’re doing on the grounds is totally different.”  

Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead, who told CBS 17 once taking office that he would not cooperate with ICE, did not comment on the reports of ICE making several arrests Thursday.  

Durham Public Schools superintendent Dr. Pascal Mubenga told CBS 17 that every student is welcome in DPS.  

ICE told CBS 17 it is planning a news conference for Friday morning to discuss recent immigration efforts in the state. 

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