MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Not long after Mecklenburg County's new sheriff ended a controversial immigration program, Rep. Scott Stone (R) is asking him to reconsider. The state lawmaker recently sent Sheriff Garry McFadden a letter raising safety concerns and fears that Charlotte will become a Sanctuary City.
"The termination of this program will obstruct necessary cooperation and communication between federal and local law enforcement," Rep. Stone said in his letter. "The program has been working well for a long period of time with great success. The individuals who are subject to scrutiny under this program have already been accused of a crime before they come under ICE supervision."
Much to the relief of the immigrant community, Sheriff Garry McFadden kept his campaign promise and announced the end of the 287(g) program earlier this month.
While the sheriff called it the right thing, Rep. Stone is questioning the decision,
According to Rep. Stone, ending the program "sends a message to the entire population of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County that we will be a safe haven for illegal immigrants who may have the intent of committing crimes."
For the last 12 years, the 287(g) program allowed the jail to screen anyone arrested to see if they were in this country illegally and then notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible deportation.
"I don't understand why the sheriff would not want to participate in this program. It's enforcing existing law and it's actually keeping the community safer," Rep. Stone said. "Why wouldn't you want them arrested in a safe environment like the jail instead of on the streets or in the home?"
Before ending the program, Mecklenburg County was one of a limited number of police and sheriff's departments nationwide that participated.
According to a spokesperson, the sheriff would not comment about the lawmaker's request, but did acknowledge he received it.
Rep. Stone said the sheriff emailed him last week, acknowledged that he received the letter and told him he was going to move forward with the path he's chosen.