Sunday Immigration Presentation Becomes Meeting of Residents Concerned About ICE Arrests

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — ICE reports four more undocumented nationals were arrested Sunday in Western North Carolina, following the arrest of 12 others Saturday.

Two of those arrests were in Asheville. At St. Eugene’s Catholic Church Sunday night, there was a packed presentation that was already planned before the ICE arrests, and which became, largely, a meeting of residents concerned about the arrests. Many wanted to know what they could do to help, and what local leaders could do to embrace latino families who were part of the weekend round-up.

‘We have actually visited the Stewart detention center in south Georgia,” said Anne Stokely, who came out of concern. “Once you get there it’s like going into a black hole, you have no way to communicate with your family.”

“In terms of what council can do,” said Asheville council man Vijay Kapoor. “Not much. But as human beings council can get the word out for some of these families who need help.”

All the people in the crowd of 100 or more had heard about the arrests. The event was initially scheduled to feature only a speaker from Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte and local Catholic churches, telling how she advocates and assists immigrants facing legal and other challenges.

On Sunday, there was discussion of this weekend’s arrests. Sheriff Van Duncan said his department has no role in the arrests, and neither is the Buncombe County Jail housing any of those ICE arrested. He said he wants to continue to clarify that to the community. Neither the Sheriffs department nor APD do documentation enforcement.

“We just want to make sure that they have as much of the facts around what kind of local participation there is in this case, and there is none,” said Duncan. “So, that fear is not based on rumor, and we’ve seen a lot of that in the community, and we want to let them know what part we have in this which is nothing .”

By Wlos Staff for NEWS ABC
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