HOLDING: Deport criminal illegal immigrants

A few weeks ago, I came across an article on WRAL TV’s website that left me scratching my head.

In July 2018, an illegal immigrant named Furmencio Miranda-Cortazar was arrested in Raleigh and charged with a first-degree sex offense against a child. Federal Immigration sent the Wake County sheriff a detainer request, asking that Miranda-Cortazar be kept in custody so ICE agents could come pick him up after his trial and begin deportation proceedings. All standard procedure.

However, the Wake County sheriff refused to cooperate. This past June, Miranda-Cortazar was found guilty of sexual battery against a minor. Instead of working with ICE to deport him, the sheriff released the convicted child sex offender back into the community.

The reason? Shortly after taking office last year, the Wake County sheriff announced that he would not cooperate with federal immigration authorities nor honor their detainer requests.

If you find that troubling, you may want to take a seat.

Last month, WBTV reported that “nearly 500 undocumented immigrants have been released from jails across the state in the past ten months despite administrative detainers filed against them by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

The article goes on to note that the illegal immigrants released from custody “include people charged with sex offenses, kidnapping, arson and homicide.”

This defies basic common sense. Illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes should be immediately deported — it’s that simple.

It’s astonishing and infuriating to think that a handful of North Carolina sheriffs are knowingly, willfully and repeatedly choosing to shield dangerous criminals who are illegally in the United States.

I know immigration is a highly polarized issue. But this isn’t about immigration policy — this is about crime and public safety.

Law enforcement personnel have a responsibility to enforce the law and keep our families and our communities safe. By obstructing federal authorities, these sheriffs are protecting criminals and endangering the very people they’re supposed to be keeping safe.

It’s unfortunate — and frankly quite crazy — that sanctuary cities and the deportation of criminal illegal immigrants are such contentious issues. Amid the endless posturing and finger-pointing dominating politics these days, there are still some things that ought to transcend partisan division. This is one of them.

Illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes should be deported, not released back into our communities.

This isn’t political. It’s just plain, old common sense.

George Holding represents North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.