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North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis responded to a WBTV Charlotte report detailing that nearly 500 illegal immigrants have been released from North Carolina jails in the last 10 months after local sheriffs refused to comply with detainer requests made by ICE.

Tillis reiterated the need for Congress to pass legislation he introduced in July, the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act, which holds sanctuary jurisdictions like Mecklenburg County accountable for failing to comply with lawful detainer and release notification requests made by federal authorities. Tillis’ legislation creates a private right of civil action for the victims of sanctuary jurisdictions, allowing them to bring an action for compensatory damages against the sanctuary jurisdiction as a result of a violent crime committed by an illegal immigrant.

 “Today’s report shows just how dangerous and reckless sanctuary policies are for counties that refuse to comply with ICE’s lawful detainer and release notification requests. These North Carolina counties are releasing illegal immigrants charged with violent crimes like rape and murder without even notifying federal officials, jeopardizing public safety,” North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis said. “This is why Congress needs to pass legislation I introduced to protect North Carolinians from dangerous criminals and to hold sanctuary counties responsible for refusing to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.”

WBTV reported that the illegal immigrants released include those charged with violent crimes, including homicide:

“According to the new ICE data obtained by WBTV, the nearly 500 undocumented immigrants who have been released in FY19 despite a federal detainer include people charged with sex offenses, kidnapping, arson and homicide.”

A Trump administration official told WBTV that the 489 figure only includes cases in which individuals are “entered into the national criminal database and ICE becomes aware of them being in custody and can issue a detainer.”

“If an illegal alien is arrested for a crime and is then released by local law enforcement without ever alerting ICE officials, a lifted detainer will never be registered in our systems and the alien may only come to our attention once it's too late,” the official said.

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