Felicia Arriaga

A photo of the Durham County Jail: a large silver building.
Laura Candler/WUNC

COVID-19 is spreading more quickly throughout North Carolina's population: public health metrics in the last week have some experts worried the state is heading in the wrong direction. Research shows the virus spreads more quickly indoors and when people have prolonged close contact with one another — something that's almost unavoidable in places like jails and prisons. 

McKenzie County Sheriff's Office

Hundreds of inmates have been released from state prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic to help curb the spread of the virus. But the same is not true in the state’s jails, which housed just under 16,000 people statewide in the first five months of 2020, according to data from the University of North Carolina School of Government. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety oversees the response to the coronavirus in the state’s prisons, but jails around the state do not have the same accountability or oversight. 

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official stands with his back to the camera as someone is led away by other officials.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Sheriffs in North Carolina are signing new agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Under the new Warrant Service Officer program, local law enforcement officials can serve federal administrative warrants and transfer detainees into ICE custody.

 

a photo of Smiley's Farmer's Market empty.
Cass Herrington

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested more than 200 people around North Carolina in early February. And according to new reporting, this action had a noticeable impact on local commerce in western North Carolina. 

Photo from the ICE raid at Bear Creek Arsenal in Sanford.
Courtesy of Ilana Dubester

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained at least 200 people in North Carolina earlier this month. In a press conference, ICE Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Gallagher told journalists that more visible enforcement is a direct consequence of decreased cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement agencies. 

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest.
Wikimedia Commons

In North Carolina some voters are weighing in on an issue that has a big impact on immigrant families. The 287(g) program allows local law enforcement officials to partner with immigration agents. Six counties in North Carolina currently have 287(g) agreements: Cabarrus, Gaston, Henderson, Mecklenburg, Nash and Wake. The program has become a hot topic in several of North Carolina’s County Sheriff’s races.