Forsyth County Sheriff joins sheriffs in other counties to limit ICE access to detainees

Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough Jr.

Forsyth County Sheriff joins sheriffs in other counties to limit ICE access to detainees
February 21
04:00 2019

At a recent news conference outside the Forsyth County Detention Center called by Siembra NC and American Friends Service Committee, in support of a 24-year-old Honduran man who ended up in ICE custody via the Forsyth ICE-jail agreement, Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough, Jr. announced his intention to withdraw from the agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service which allows ICE open access to the jail. He said that would likely occur before the contract is up for renewal in April. Sheriff Kimbrough elaborated on those intentions at a press conference.

At the same time, in a striking coincidence, confirmed ICE detentions in Greensboro, Burlington, Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte have led immigrant community members to disappear from work and avoid taking their children to school. “We know of Latino hair salons in Burlington that were empty today, we’ve heard from workers who missed their factory shifts, fear is running rampant for many of us with immigrant families,” said Laura Garduño Garcia of Siembra NC and American Friends Service Committee. “That’s why we’re sending volunteers out into the trailer parks and Latino neighborhoods to watch for ICE vehicles and inform residents if they enter the neighborhood.” Three people were detained at a trailer park on N. Church Street in Burlington at 7 a.m.; other detentions followed, and at the same trailer park at 10 a.m. Ted Moreé, a volunteer with Siembra NC/AFSC, asked a man in an unmarked SUV who he was while filming live on Facebook, and he responded, “I’m with Homeland Security.” As the volunteer continued to film, the ICE agent left the trailer park.

A bus owned by the GEO Group with a manifest reading “Folkston ICE Processing Center” and a destination of the Holiday Inn Express Burlington, was parked outside both the Holiday Inn Express and the Alamance County Detention Center.

In Winston-Salem, eight Forsyth County residents showed up to the sheriff’s afternoon press conference to show support. Some of them pointed out that 70 percent of all ICE arrests take place in local and state jails, making them the most important source of ICE detentions. Removing ICE from the U.S. Marshals jail agreement will allow immigrants in the county to have more trust in local law enforcement.

Pastor Lia Scholl of Wake Forest Baptist Church applauded the move. “ICE detention centers are full of people who have not been charged with a crime, have not had due process, and who have been separated from their families with no recourse. Housing ICE detainees in our local jails means we aid and abet injustice.” Yamile McBride of Latinas Finas, a nonprofit serving young girls in Winston-Salem, said, “The sheriff is taking an important step right now that will protect all of us in the county, not just immigrants.”

Andrew Willis Garcés of Siembra NC and American Friends Service Committee said, “We’re looking forward to supporting the sheriff in adopting modern ICE access policies similar to those that have been developed in Mecklenburg and Durham counties.”

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