CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- ICE’s Atlanta field office director, Sean Gallagher, was greeted by protesters in Charlotte who are not happy about a heavier presence of ICE agents in the community. Agents picked up more than 200 people across North Carolina so far this week. 

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The director says his agents have to be more visible as they are no longer allowed in the Mecklenburg County Jail after a decision made by Sheriff Garry McFadden. The director is critical of this decision.

“Regardless of the fact of whether or not these sheriffs will work with us, we will continue to be out there, protecting the citizens of these counties. We are still open to working with these various jurisdictions in whatever capacity that they are willing to do. But to refuse access to my officers for these facilities so we can identify and later arrest these individuals is not an effective public safety policy. I think the citizens of this state are going to be impacted by these public safety threats,” said Gallagher.

At least 60 of those detained were not known to ICE, and in the words of the deputy director, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is raising concerns and fears for many in the community who are worried what a heavier ICE presence may mean in North Carolina.