ICE works with state probation and parole officers in North Carolina

An anti-ICE group called Siembra NC is protesting the arrest of three Winston-Salem residents by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports, based on an emailed statement from a group representative, that since late January ICE agents have picked up three men: Mauricio de La Cruz, Milton Orozco and Jorge Luis Perea-Hernandez. They add, in the name of the Raleigh-based N.C. Policy Watch, that since January, ICE has detained illegal aliens in 12 North Carolina counties, including Forsyth, Guilford and Surry counties.

Mauricio de La Cruz is a Mexican national who was detained by ICE on the morning of January 29, while leaving home to go to his job as a painter. Cruz tried to enter the United States illegally last year but he was stopped and deported at the border with Mexico. He later re-entered the U.S. illegally without being detected by the Border Patrol.

Illegally re-entering the U.S. after being deported is a federal felony offense.

Milton Orozco is a native of Guatemala who was picked up at his job in Winston-Salem on February 12. The advocacy group says Orozco has worked at his job for 21 years, is married and has five children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. They suggest that he wants to become a citizen but can't, due to the inconvenient fact that he originally entered the U.S. illegally. That disqualifies applications for citizenship in almost every case.

Jorge Luis Perea-Hernandez, age 48, is a Mexican national who was detained by ICE when he visited his state probation officer in Winston-Salem.

Why was he visiting a state probation officer? Court documents and an arrest warrant reviewed by the Winston-Salem Journal show that Perea-Hernandez was convicted in September of assault on a female and communicating threats, which are both misdemeanors. Perea-Hernandez was accused of throwing his ex-wife to the ground, putting her in a chokehold and threatening to kill her.

According to court records, he was given a suspended 150-day jail term, placed on supervised probation for one year and ordered to pay a $250 fine plus $180 in court expenses.

Andrew Willis Garces, the spokesman for Siembra NC, complains that Perea-Hernandez should have been allowed to complete his probationary sentence, instead of being arrested for immigration violations. He complains that the ICE arrest was a denial of due process — no explanation for this assertion is supplied.

The spokesman says that Perea-Hernandez's wife called the Winston-Salem police when Perea-Hernandez allegedly attacked her, but, She feels terrible now. She is also no longer married to him.

State probation and parole officers in NC cooperate with ICE

The Winston-Salem Journal communicated with Greg Thomas, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. That state agency employs probation and parole officers. Greg Thomas says that state probation and parole officers in his department have a policy of cooperating with ICE to identify and help deport aliens under their supervision who are illegally present in the U.S.

This compensates for the refusal of several sheriffs in North Carolinian urban centers to honor ICE immigration detainers. Detainers request county jails to hold over illegal alien detainees scheduled for release, until ICE agents can arrive and pick them up.

Andrew Willis Garces says that ICE’s actions violate Fourth Amendment protection for “residents” from unlawful searches and seizures; as if there is no such thing as U.S. citizenship, and every person physically present in the United States is a “resident”, and that all “residents” have the same legal standing according to U.S. legal code.

Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough Jr. of Forsyth County, in which Winston-Salem is the county seat, announced in February 2019 that his office would no longer allow ICE to use space in the county jail to house immigration detainees. ICE had been authorized to do so under Forsyth County's intergovernmental agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service.

In making this announcement, Bobby Kimbrough followed the lead of Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gary McFadden, and Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker, who had announced in December that they would stop honoring ICE detainers.

Disclaimer: Information on this website is not legal advice.