This week, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle signed a letter along with other mayors in North Carolina to condemn the recent immigration raids that have happened across the state.
"We cannot stop (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) from operating in our cities, but we can and must speak out against these raids which destabilize neighborhoods, traumatize children, hurt many innocent people and create distrust of law enforcement," the letter said.
Approximately 200 people were arrested in North Carolina last week, according to ICE Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Gallagher in a Feb. 8 press conference.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said the raids have hurt the community.
"We've had businesses concerned for folks in general, because it scares everyone away," she said. "You have people not going to work or people not taking kids to school."
Hemminger said the local authorities have not been alerted of the operations before they happen as ICE operates under the Department of Homeland Security, which is a branch of federal government.
Bryan Cox, an ICE spokesperson, said in an email that local partners have refused to cooperate with ICE, forcing agents to adopt a "more-visible presence" in the state.
"ICE has repeatedly stated publicly this agency desires to work with its local partners to whatever extent they are willing to work with this agency," he said. "But ICE is sworn to enforce federal immigration law and will do so with or without local cooperation."
Despite not being involved, Hemminger said the towns are not opposed to cooperation with the agents and other towns.