Vote to Keep Wake Families Together

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How does the Wake County Sheriff influence whether immigrant families stay together?


A Sheriff is a County’s highest law enforcement officer. They are elected to four year terms manage county law enforcement, security in the jail and courtrooms, daily conditions of county jails and inmates in county custody, and elect to what extent to collaborate with federal immigration enforcement. See below to learn about the Wake County candidates’ positions on keeping immigrant families together.


What is 287(g)?

The Section 287(g) program allows state and local law enforcement agencies who choose to enter into the agreement to engage in federal immigration enforcement activities. The law creates a path for ICE to be notified if an undocumented person is arrested, even for small infractions like a broken tail light or speeding, and can lead to the person being detained and deported, before an individual has the opportunity to see a judge or is found guilty of a crime.

The ACLU has strongly opposed the 287(g) program, believing it has led to illegal racial profiling and civil rights abuses while diverting scarce resources from traditional local law enforcement functions and distorting immigration enforcement priorities.

Read more about the ACLU’s opposition to 287(g) agreements here.

How has 287(g) affected Wake County?

A double-standard: The relationship with federal immigration enforcement has led to deteriorated relationships with law enforcement across the county. Arrests made by any law enforcement agency across the county (including the Raleigh Police Department) are processed in Wake County jails administered by the Sheriff’s Office. The smallest infraction (a broken tail light or speeding ticket) could land an undocumented person in ICE custody. This creates a double-standard; a different system of justice due to an immigration system that is broken federally.

Mistrust: The county's undocumented residents also face the question of whether to report crimes, because doing so might lead to their status being uncovered. 

Other concerns with 287(g)

  • 287(g) priorities are not often not followed (i.e. they don’t focus on “dangers to public safety”)

  • ICE does not properly monitor local law enforcement

  • 287(g) officer training is inadequate

  • 287(g) gives additional authority to local law enforcement

  • it separates families

  • it wastes tax payer money


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The Sheriff has the power: Know the candidates

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Donnie Harrison (Republican)

"Whether you're documented or undocumented, 287(g) is a tool to me to keep communities safe." (Source) | "Hey, we don't have enough to charge him, but you might want to look into him, he's undocumented, or she's undocumented, and let's just get him out of our neighborhood.” (Source)

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Gerald Baker (Democrat)

“I am opposed to 287(g)…The people that are impacted are hardworking people. My job is to serve and protect.” (Source: Candidate forum on 10/13/18)