How the ACLU helped set alien criminals free in Mecklenburg County, NC

On Thursday, August 15, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) published a news release announcing the arrest of fugitive Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo. This 33-year old Honduran national had been removed from the U.S. to his home county in July 2006, and subsequently illegally reentered the U.S.

The arrest of Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo was made nearly two months after the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor an ICE detainer, instead releasing the Honduran from custody following his arrest on charges of first-degree rape and indecent liberties with a minor.

The ICE news release listed other cases of unlawfully present aliens released from custody by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department over the preceding nine months, despite their facing serious criminal charges. Among them were:

  • A 30-year-old citizen of Honduras who had been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
  • A 40-year-old citizen of Guatemala who had been arrested for multiple counts of indecent liberties with a child and rape, among other sex offenses
  • A 47-year-old citizen of Honduras who was removed from the United States in February 2014, and was arrested in Charlotte in February 2019 for assault by strangulation, among other charges.
  • A 30-year-old citizen of Liberia who was arrested for multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
  • A 27-year-old citizen of El Salvador was arrested for assault by strangulation and assault on a female.

The 2018 election for Mecklenburg County Sheriff

On May 8, 2018, voters in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina's most populous county, elected Garry L. McFadden to be the Democratic Party's candidate for county sheriff. Since there was no Republican on the ballot in the general election, McFadden, a former detective with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, had effectively become sheriff-elect. Garry McFadden's opponents were Irwin Carmichael, the incumbent Sheriff, and city human resources manager Antoine Ensley.

Irwin Carmichael
Irwin Carmichael
Garry McFadden
Garry McFadden

The primary race attracted national attention as a referendum on immigration, because the candidates were split over the county's Section 287(g) program. A jurisdiction with a 287(g) program is authorized to identify, arrest, and serve warrants and detainers to incarcerated aliens with criminal charges or convictions. In effect, local officers are deputized to act like federal immigration agents.

Incumbent Sheriff Irwin Carmichael supported Mecklenburg County's 287(g) program, pointing out that access to Federal databases enabled the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to identify people who had been brought into jail, sometimes discovering that they had criminal records in their home countries. Garry McFadden and Antoine Ensley had promised to end participation in the ICE program.

The ACLU intervenes massively on behalf of criminal illegal aliens

Through the first quarter, Irwin Carmichael raised $180,000, while Garry McFadden raised $66,600 and Antoine Ensley pulled in $11,500. A few days before the Democratic primary, it was revealed by the Charlotte Observer that the ACLU had spent $175,000 on the race for Mecklenburg County sheriff with ads accusing incumbent Irwin Carmichael of working with “Trump's deportation force.”

Since the American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization and officially nonpartisan, they do not make direct contributions to election candidates. Instead, they intervene in local races by purchasing advertisements and posting web pages wherein they point out how favored candidates agree with their positions.

The same Charlotte Observer article reported that 455 people had been arrested in Mecklenburg County in fiscal year 2017 and detained by the sheriff's office on behalf of ICE. Of those, 158 were originally arrested on felony charges and 190 for misdemeanors. In some of those cases, the arrestee faced multiple felony or misdemeanor charges.

Those felony charges included murder, rape and drug trafficking. Among the misdemeanors, more than 40 percent of the cases involved assault on a female. The American “Civil Liberties” Union doesn't seem to be recognize the right of law-abiding citizens to walk the streets without fear of criminal attack. It seems this doesn't interest the majority of voters in Mecklenburg County either.