‘Sanctuary’ Sheriff Ignoring Calls And Emails From ICE After Publicly Calling For Dialogue, Agency Says


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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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  • Since entering office in December 2018, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden has refused to honor ICE detainers on illegal aliens in his custody, leading to numerous criminal aliens being released back into the community. 
  • McFadden called on ICE to visit his office in September and start a dialogue about their differences on enforcement cooperation. However, ICE is saying the sheriff repeatedly ignored emails and phone calls by their agents.
  • The agency is warning of criminal illegal aliens currently in the county’s custody that may be released back into the community

The sheriff of a sanctuary county is being accused of repeatedly ignoring calls and emails from the agency after publicly calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement to “sit down” and discuss policy disagreements with his office.

In an apparent attempt to smooth over relations with federal immigration authorities, Garry McFadden — the sheriff of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina — publicly called on ICE to visit his town and discuss their differences. However, the agency is accusing the sheriff of simply ignoring their attempts at outreach. The story was first reported by WBTV.

“Since our last news conference in Charlotte on September 26, ICE leadership has made multiple attempts to communicate with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable solution to the county’s ICE non-cooperation policy, which knowingly releases violent criminal offenders back onto the streets of Charlotte,” Bryan Cox, the acting press secretary for ICE, stated to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday.

“ICE senior leadership has sent email, and made multiple phone calls, over the past four weeks in an attempt to do so. This agency’s efforts to engage in dialogue have received no response,” Cox continued.

ICE officers detain a suspect as they conduct a targeted enforcement operation in Los Angeles

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers detain a suspect as they conduct a targeted enforcement operation in Los Angeles, California, U.S. on February 7, 2017. Picture taken on February 7, 2017. Courtesy Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via REUTERS

The statements are the latest in the fraught relationship between McFadden and federal immigration authorities.

McFadden has reportedly refused to help ICE apprehend illegal aliens since he was sworn in as the sheriff of Mecklenburg County in December 2018. Namely, the sheriff will not honor ICE detainer requests, and has released numerous criminal illegal aliens back into the community.

A detainer request is an official request from ICE to a local law enforcement agency, asking that an individual remain in custody for an additional 48 hours so that an ICE agent can assume custody. ICE lodges detainer requests to jails and other detention centers when incarcerated individuals are believed to be deportable from the country — and they make the bulk of all ICE apprehensions.

ICE, demonstrating the effects of McFadden’s sanctuary policy, released an extensive list in August of all the criminal illegal aliens recently released from Mecklenburg County’s custody. Many of the individuals included on the list carried rape and assault charges.

In an apparent olive branch to ICE agents, McFadden in September called on the agency to meet him and start a dialogue on how they could cooperate moving together.

“This is when you sit down and talk to someone,” the sheriff said at the time. “This is when you come into town and say, ‘how can we help with that problem?'”

However, ICE says McFadden did not follow through. After one phone call conversation in October with John Tsoukaris, the agency’s Atlanta field officer director, the sheriff has ignored numerous phone calls and emails.

Tsoukaris sent him a follow-up email on the same day requesting an in-person meeting.

“Hello Sheriff McFadden, it was good speaking with you today regards to coming up with an agreeable solution on the ICE warrants and Detainers issue,” Tsoukaris emailed to McFadden after their call, according to WBTV. “Please contact me once you have discussed with your staff and perhaps we can set up a follow-up call or meeting.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 06: An exterior view of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency headquarters is seen July 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence placed a visit to the agency and received a briefing on "ICE's overall mission on enforcement and removal operations, countering illicit trade, and human smuggling." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 06: An exterior view of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency headquarters is seen July 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. U.S. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

This email, despite being sent to two addresses for the sheriff, were not returned. ICE staff followed up a week after the email with a phone call, but they did not receive a response. After this, Tsoukaris personally left a voice message for McFadden on Oct. 11. That message was also left unreturned.

Despite evidence of email and phone correspondence, McFadden claimed he did not receive any sort of follow-up from ICE after their initial phone conversation.

ICE, in the meantime, is putting more pressure on Mecklenburg County. The agency on Friday released a list of criminal illegal aliens currently in the county jail’s custody, and warned that they could be released back into the public if McFadden continues to ignore their detainer requests. Some of the aliens included on the list have been charged with statutory rape of a child. (RELATED: Sanctuary In The Big Apple: Every ICE Detainer Request Ignored By NYPD)

“The only way a person is subject to an ICE detainer in Mecklenburg County is if they are handcuffed and arrested for a crime committed in the local community,” Matt Albence, the acting ICE Director of ICE, said in a statement released Friday. “The only persons protected by these misguided policies are criminals as the only way a person is subject to a detainer is if they’ve been arrested for a crime beyond anything to do with their immigration status.”

McFadden’s office did not answer the DCNF’s request for comment.

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