A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement denied social media claims on Tuesday that his agency conducted random sweeps, raids and checkpoints in Charlotte early Tuesday to find people who are in the country illegally.
Social media reports claimed that authorities had set up checkpoints at six intersections, but ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said those claims are false. ICE does not conduct checkpoints, Cox said.
Cox confirmed that a photo on social media of a reported arrest at Central Avenue and Kilborne Drive, near Sharon Amity Road, was of ICE officers only. No other departments participated, he said.
The individuals in question were not pulled over randomly, Cox said. On Tuesday night, Cox said two “unlawfully present” Mexican nationals were taken into custody during the stop, “in accordance with the agency’s focus on criminal offenders and individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.” Both men have prior driving while impaired convictions in North Carolina, Cox said.
Salamon Gonzalez-Rivas was convicted of driving while impaired in Union County in October 2013 and September 2012, Cox said. Edgar Herrera-Velasquez was convicted of driving while impaired in January 2014 in Mecklenburg County.
In response to questions from the Observer, Cox said in a statement: “Every day, as part of routine targeted enforcement operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Fugitive Operations teams arrest criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of our nation’s immigration laws.
“ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy,” the statement said. “ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”
Unsubstantiated rumors of ICE raids and checkpoints have also spread in other parts of the country, including California, Florida and Texas.