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Monday December 6th

Durham ICE arrest deviates from usual enforcement policy

<p>Protesters gather outside terminal two at RDU Airport on Jan. 29 in response to President Donald Trump's executive order banning immigrants from certain countries from entering the U.S.</p>
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Protesters gather outside terminal two at RDU Airport on Jan. 29 in response to President Donald Trump's executive order banning immigrants from certain countries from entering the U.S.

Durham residents and community leaders are calling for the release of Samuel Oliver-Bruno, who was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials when he left sanctuary at a Durham church on Nov. 23 and later deported, according to the News & Observer.

Oliver-Bruno attended an appointment at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office after submitting a petition for deferred action.

Oliver-Bruno believed he would be walking into a procedural biometrics appointment for a background check, Alerta Migratoria N.C. said in a statement on its website.

According to a statement issued by CityWell Church, community members from the church where he was living in sanctuary for nearly a year accompanied Oliver-Bruno.

"Upon entering the USCIS office, filling out registration paperwork and stepping into the processing line, plainclothes ICE officers posing as other immigrants filling out paperwork forcibly detained Samuel," the church said in a statement.

When Oliver-Bruno was forced into an ICE vehicle, supporters waiting outside the office attempted to block the vehicle.

The Morrisville Police Department said in a statement they did not participate in the active arrest of Oliver-Bruno. Officers were called to the scene after the initial arrest had been made by ICE and arrested 27 people "without incident or injury," according to the statement. 

In the statement prior to his deportation, Alerta Migratoria N.C. said that Oliver-Bruno feared returning to the Mexican state of Veracruz, where his family has been threatened.

Oliver-Bruno was deported Nov. 29, which has caused outrage and disappointment among his family members and public officials. 

U.S. Representatives David Price, D-04, and G.K. Butterfield, D-01, released a joint statement. 

“We are extremely alarmed by Samuel Oliver-Bruno’s abrupt arrest this morning by ICE agents at the USCIS office in Morrisville, N.C.," the two said in the statement. "Mr. Oliver-Bruno has lived in the United States for more than two decades and has spent the last year living in sanctuary in Durham."

Durham Mayor Steve Schewel also issued a letter in support, claiming it was a breach of trust toward a member of his community.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website states ICE has a policy in place that advises against enforcement actions at schools or churches. 

At time of publication, ICE has not released any statements about Oliver-Bruno's deportation.

The Durham arrest has some in Chapel Hill wondering what this means for them.

Bryan Cox, ICE’s Southern region communications director, told The Daily Tar Heel in September that ICE could visit UNC's campus for various other matters not related to immigration enforcement, including investigations into things like human trafficking, drug trafficking and internet-based crimes.

“ICE actually has the broadest law enforcement authority of any federal agency,” Cox said. 

However, Cox said no visits have been made to the University by ICE agents and none are planned.

Marco Leonardo Chumbimuni, a political action committee chairperson for Mi Pueblo, a Latinx organization at UNC, said he was appalled by these policies. 

“A government agency that carries out that kind of action, to me, has no roles, no morals,” Chumbimuni said. "I’m afraid it’s not a question of if these students are going to feel unsafe at their own school, but when. Once you take away their absence of fear, you take away their liberty."

Chumbimuni said he doesn't think undocumented students can rely on ICE adhering to its sensitive locations policy.

"ICE is becoming a vehicle of an anti-immigrant agenda," he said. "There is no empathy.” 


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