CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — Garry McFadden will take over as Mecklenburg County Sheriff in November. Many say he won his campaign on his promise to get rid of the 287-g program.
“287g is going to be history in Charlotte-Mecklenburg,” said Sheriff-Elect Garry McFadden during his victory speech Tuesday night.
Many immigrants have been fighting for this moment. Stefania Arteaga leads the civil activist group Comunidad Colectiva of Charlotte.
“Driving without a license could possibly land you back in a country you haven’t been in for years. I think today has been a huge win because they won’t have the stress of being scared if tomorrow you go to the grocery store, you might not come back to your children,” said Arteaga.
The 287-g program allows deputies to check the immigration status of everyone who gets booked into the Mecklenburg County Jail. If the person is in the country illegally, it notifies Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Sheriff has the power to get rid of the program at any time, but Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett says he hopes that doesn’t happen.
“I’ve known Garry McFadden for many years. He’s a dear friend of mine, but I think he’s wrong on this particular issue. I’m hopeful he would be willing to take a closer look at it once he’s in the Sheriff’s Office and give it a second thought and consideration. Maybe alter it if he needs to, but I hope he keeps it in place.”
The county will not lose any federal funding if the incoming sheriff disbands the program, according to an ICE spokesperson.
As for undocumented immigrants who have been arrested and charged – like accused child molester Ricardo Mata – the Sheriff’s Office is still required by law to hold them for ICE, according to a Sheriff’s spokesperson.
We reached out to Sheriff-Elect Garry McFadden, but were told he’s offline after winning the primary. Outgoing Sheriff Carmichael declined an interview.