MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Monday afternoon, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden spoke regarding policies about the detention of undocumented immigrants. The issue has been an increasingly discussed topic leading up to the special election for District 9.
McFadden said Monday that politicians seeking a national platform suggest he's the sole deciding factor of who and when people are released from the detention center.
"Those suggestions ... are inaccurate, completely false and I feel it's time to set the record straight," McFadden said.
McFadden said he will follow all laws, but said that detainers are not laws, rather requests by a federal agency.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that 489 detainers were not honored this year in North Carolina. All of the detainers were for people arrested by a law enforcement agency for a criminal offense other than the violation of federal immigration law, according to ICE.
McFadden said he doesn't set any bond or conditions for individuals to be released, and neither does any member of the sheriff's office. McFadden encouraged people to ask a judge or magistrate why bonds are set low enough for someone to be easily released from the detention center.
He said when a person meets all conditions for the court order he "must and shall" release that individual.
In August, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would have required county sheriff departments to hold undocumented immigrants for ICE.
McFadden applauded the veto, while President Donald Trump criticized it, calling it "a terrible decision" for the state.
"If you know that these individuals are out here that you believe, that you deem dangerous than why don't we work together to have this individual brought to justice by putting a federal warrant on them so everybody will know who these individuals are," McFadden said.
McFadden said he has sat down with ICE officials before, but he is willing to sit down with them again, as well as any politicians interested in the matter.
Going forward, McFadden said he is willing to have a task force or study committee to see how they can rectify the differences between the sheriff's office and ICE, saying they all want the same thing: a safe community.
"I am for the law," McFadden said. "People say my policies are dangerous, well it's a policy I needed to put in place. I'm not breaking the law, I am following the law."
McFadden said if a bill becomes a law he will and must follow the law.