Donald Trump won the presidency by stoking and exploiting racist and xenophobic fears, and Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison is promising to help Trump spread that fear in the Triangle.
Harrison told ABC11 that his department will willingly share information on Triangle residents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Though Harrison, like Trump, is claiming that he will focus on supposed criminals, he made clear that he will use ICE to target residents when he wants to remove them from the area, but doesn’t have evidence that they committed any crimes.
“Hey, we don’t have enough to charge him, but you [ICE] might want to look into him, he’s undocumented, or she’s undocumented, and let’s just get him out of our neighborhood,” he told ABC11.
By circumventing due process, Harrison is playing to stereotypes of immigrants—and our Latinx neighbors more generally—as criminals, treating them as inferior citizens who are not worthy of constitutional protections. Harrison’s comments make clear that immigrants’ rights are secondary to the comfort of others—others who we know to be wealthy, white citizens.
This kind of oppression is not new in North Carolina. The same sentiment lies behind House Bill 318, which Governor Pat McCrory signed last year. At a press conference, McCrory and Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes both justified the bill as a way to preserve law and order. In reality, it’s just a way to ensure undocumented immigrants—and anyone assumed to be an undocumented immigrant—have onerous bureaucratic hoops to jump through to prove their right to take part in our local communities.
We must fight back against Trump, Harrison, Barnes, and McCrory’s bigotry. We must ensure that our friends, family, and neighbors who are immigrants are safe in North Carolina, regardless of their immigration status.
To help resist anti-immigrant policies in the Triangle, we urge you to:
Attend the public ICE 287(g) program steering committee meeting that will take place at 1 p.m. on December 12 at the Wake County Detention Center. The 287(g) program allows ICE to deport undocumented immigrants, and the meeting allows public comment so you can speak against the way it is used to oppress Triangle residents.
Support efforts to create sanctuaries for immigrants the Triangle. Though Governor McCrory signed a bill last year outlawing sanctuary cities, movements have started at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and elsewhere to create protections for undocumented immigrants at those institutions. Join the protests, petitions, and other actions in your area.