Press release from Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción:
Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been active in Hendersonville. As of yesterday, June 12, 2019, two arrests were made and reports came in to CIMA’s hotline regarding ICE agents following community members and being present in neighborhoods. One of the traumatic arrests of a 19 year old youth violated human and civil rights. The youth was a passenger in a vehicle with his mother when plainclothes ICE agents in unmarked cars forced the vehicle onto the shoulder of the road. With weapons drawn and pointed at the mother and son in the car, the agents surrounded the vehicle and proceeded to violently beat on the windows. He was abducted and the family was threatened.
This comes after the extensive raids that took place earlier this year. This past February, in retaliation to 6 major counties ending collaborations with ICE, 270 people were taken across NC. Earlier this month, ICE was active and detained people in Charlotte, Fuquay, Winston Salem, Durham and Raleigh. The raids and tactics used are becoming increasingly underhanded and violent. In Hendersonville, ICE has posed as workers in a worker van, and they have also impersonated police officers by conducting checkpoints and stopping people for traffic stops. They are now resorting to drawing their weapons on unarmed people. ICE’s unscrupulous tactics are also occurring at the policy level.
On a state level, ICE worked with Representative Destin Hall (R-Caldwell) and drafted a retaliatory anti-immigrant bill, House Bill 370. This bill was introduced and has passed the House, where it is currently in review by the judicial committee of the Senate. According to the ACLU of NC, this bill would “circumvent the local authority of the sheriffs by requiring them to cooperate with ICE and assist the federal government’s deportation pipeline or face financial penalties.” The penalties also include being asked to resign if they do not cooperate. This is a system that punishes people for doing the right thing. Sheriffs Miller (Buncombe), McFadden (Mecklenburg), Rogers (Guillford), Baker (Wake) and Birkhead (Durham) are standing up for their communities.
HB 370 & 287(g) give more power to these violent systems. Systems that thrive off of and profit from the harm inflicted on us are ones that need to be abolished. Systems that perpetuate violence, poverty, and racism do not keep us safe. A collaborative community keeps us safe. If we want to feel secure, we need to be in fellowship and organize together. Being isolated and reliant on systems designed to keep us divided and put us in danger.
We believe in keeping our communities safe on a local and national level. Communities cannot be safe when people aren’t able to access needed services due to fear and lack of trust caused by ICE. Communities cannot be safe when they are under constant attack and intimidation. Communities cannot be safe when our children, family members, and neighbors are caught in the crossfire and are detained through collateral arrests. Communities cannot be safe when they are being harassed by an agency that is perpetuating and magnifying problems that they say they want to end. By violating the human rights of people and children, abusing power, brutalizing their bodies, and sexually assaulting them, it is clear that ICE is not the solution on a state or national level.
Our solutions need to be based in human dignity, healing, and transformation. CIMA works to protect our community from violence by building strong relationships, caring for one another, and providing needed support.
Local immigrant rights group Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción (CIMA) has received various calls from community members that have seen suspicious cars in their neighborhoods. They advise community members to be extremely cautious and know your rights regarding interacting with ICE personnel.