Carrboro’s mayor is addressing concerns over ICE arrests being carried out in the town and throughout Orange County.
Mayor Lydia Lavelle said in a release that it is believed Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials have “detained at least two Carrboro residents and at least four other county residents.”
The first word of the arrests came after a Facebook post by the advocacy organization El Centro Hispano on Tuesday night saying that they had been informed two Carrboro residents were arrested by ICE “while they were working.” El Centro officials said they were working with the town and Carrboro Police and attempting to communicate with the affected families.
“As a reminder to our community, you have rights: the right to remain silent, talk to an attorney, and make a phone call if detained. If an immigration agent comes to your door, stay calm and do not answer the door,” the post read.
The organization followed up on Thursday morning saying that they had confirmed “three ICE raids in Orange County,” one in each Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, the group said.
The second post said they were working with the families of the detained to make sure they had legal representation and to let them know that they “are not alone.”
“This was an attack on our community and an attempt to create fear and panic,” the group wrote.
Lavelle wrote in her statement that she wanted to “make clear to the community that the Carrboro Police Department was not involved in these actions.”
Lavelle quoted police chief Walter Horton saying, “Immigration status has never been a concern or priority to the Carrboro Police Department. We are here to serve all community members.”
Town officials, according to Lavelle, have been working with El Centro in the wake of these arrests.
“Finally, on a personal note,” Lavelle wrote, “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. My heart hurts for our community. I look forward to a future when we live in a nation where all people are treated with compassion and respect, regardless of their immigration status.”
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 at the Carrboro Century Center at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Photo via Immigration and Customs Enforcement