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NC Latino groups create legal fund for families affected by recent ICE arrests

Two Latino advocacy groups have created a legal fund for the families of undocumented residents who were arrested by federal immigration officials across North Carolina last week.

El Hispano Centro in Durham and The Hispanic Liaison in Siler City announced Monday that they have created the “Liberation Not Deportation Regional Fund.”

The groups hope to raise $30,000 in 30 days and say the money will be used to pay the legal fees for families affected by arrests in Durham, Orange, Chatham, Lee, Randolph and Wake counties.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday that 200 people were arrested throughout the state last week. Another 25 were arrested in an unrelated raid on an arms manufacturing plant in Sanford.

The arrests were a result of North Carolina’s largest counties ending partnerships with ICE, said Sean Gallagher, who oversees the agency’s operation in the Carolinas and Georgia.

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker, who was elected last fall, ended his office’s participation in the 287(g) program, which allowed deputies to use a federal database to identify inmates who were in the country illegally and then notify immigration officials. Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead also stopped honoring ICE detainers.

Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, president and CEO of El Centro Hispano, and Ilana Dubester, executive director of The Hispanic Liaison, condemned what they called ICE’s “tactics to intimidate and frighten our communities.”

“The separation of families, panic and hurtful tactics used by ICE are outrageous,” Rocha-Goldberg said in a statement.

“We are heartbroken for the panic and suffering that the ICE raids are causing our community,” Dubester said. “The task now is to help impacted families connect to the resources they need.”

The goal of the fund is to “seek to support the families affected by the raids and help alleviate the psychological toll it has taken in our community,” Rocha-Goldberg said. “This is a time for our people to unite and work together to protect the community.”

For more information about the fund, contact El Centro Hispano at 919-687-4635 or The Hispanic Liaison at 919-742-1448.

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