Advocacy organization El Centro Hispano has organized a fundraising campaign to help cover the legal fees for 10 individuals recently arrested by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in Orange County.
The ICE raids have sparked fear and anxiety among the immigrant community in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and across Orange County.
El Centro is hoping to raise $30,000 through a GoFundMe campaign that was launched late Thursday night.
Local elected officials have issued statements attempting to reassure the immigrant community that local police are not assisting ICE with the arrests in any way.
“We are deeply disturbed by the heightened fear and disruption to families that these raids have caused,” Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said in a release. “We want to be clear that the Chapel Hill Police Department did not and will not participate in these actions.”
Chapel Hill and Carrboro have been coordinating with El Centro in the wake of the arrests.
“I cannot adequately express how frightening this news must be for our neighbors who live in constant fear that these actions may happen on any given day in our town,” Carrboro Mayor Lyida Lavelle said in a release. “My heart hurts for our community.”
These arrests bring forward a “severe trepidation for many of our residents throughout Chapel Hill and Carrboro,” Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools superintendent Dr. Pam Baldwin said in a message to parents of students across the district on Friday morning.
“I want to emphasize – and I will stand on the roof and shout if necessary – that our schools are safe places for ALL children. If a child resides within the boundaries of our school district, then we will educate him or her. No questions will be asked about immigration status. All means all.”
Law enforcement officials across Orange County have a history of not prioritizing immigration status during law enforcement, including supporting the Faith ID initiative. The effort provides residents – undocumented and documented – with identification that is accepted by local police.
El Centro officials said they would be holding a Faith ID event, which will have a Know Your Rights seminar, at the Carrboro Century Center at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Local law enforcement and elected officials are expected to be in attendance on Saturday morning.