An unconfirmed report that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had set up a checkpoint caused a panic among local immigrants Wednesday.
Lantern restaurant owner Andrea Reusing tweeted shortly after 2 p.m. that “there are unconfirmed rumors of possible ICE checkpoint on 15-501 near Erwin Road” in Chapel Hill. She later responded that she had heard the rumor from another restaurant’s employee, who had driven through the area an hour earlier.
Some restaurants reached Wednesday afternoon said they had heard the checkpoint rumor, while others had not. An employee of Hunam Chinese Restaurant said some immigrant workers who heard there was a checkpoint decided to skip work.
No checkpoints were found in the area between Eastgate Crossing shopping center and Interstate 40.
Alerta Migratoria, a Durham-based resource for undocumented immigrants seeking asylum, also said around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday that a volunteer had checked the area and did not find the checkpoint.
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue and Carrboro Police officials also said they had not heard of any ICE activity in the area. Blue, Carrboro Chief Walter Horton and Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood have said they do not make immigration enforcement a priority for their officers.