Bryan Cox, the ICE Southern regional director of communications, said ICE does not make random arrests, but that officers have a list with specific names of undocumented individuals at specific locations to look for each day. Due to limited resources, they must make prioritized decisions as to which individuals to target.
“If we go to a location and are looking for a person who is a public safety threat and we happen to come across someone else who is there who so happens to also be in the country unlawfully, it’s true that we’re not going to turn a blind eye and we’ll probably take them too,” Cox said.
Eliazar Posada, the community engagement and advocacy manager for El Centro Hispano, said it’s important for individuals to know their rights. Everyone has the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney and the right to not open the door.
Posada said that if an ICE agent claims to have a warrant, it is important to have them slide it under the door or put it against the glass to verify the warrant is for someone in the building and signed by a magistrate.
“We’re telling folks to know your rights,” Posada said. “We all have rights regardless of immigration status.”
El Centro Hispano is hosting a Know Your Rights event this Saturday at 8:30 a.m. in Carrboro’s Century Center where local officials and law enforcement will be available to answer any questions.
Rubi Franco Quiroz from the NC Dream Coalition said things can become complicated when individuals are directly confronted by ICE officials face to face. She said it is important that individuals do not answer questions and know that they do not have to show identification.
Quiroz also said many times family members do not speak fluent English, which makes it harder to communicate. She said it’s important to keep local officials accountable, especially in circumstances like these.
“They say they are trying to support our communities, but when things like this happen it definitely sets people back and people are very afraid of the police to begin with,” Quiroz said.
The Town of Chapel Hill has Crisis Counselors available to provide support to family members of those detained and anyone in the community impacted by these events. For assistance, please call (919)-968-2806.