Ten illegal immigrants arrested during a recent rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, have been released from jail.
The rally, which was held on the campus of Piedmont Community College and included about 200 participants, was organized by the North Carolina Dream Team, a group composed mostly of college students advocating for passage of the Dream Act. This federal legislation would provide a path to citizenship for those brought to this country illegally as children.
Charlotte police arrested 15 protesters on charges of disorderly conduct and impeding traffic. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office fingerprinted all the arrestees and checked their citizenship status, in keeping with department policy. Five were identified as U.S. citizens and released, and 10 were identified as undocumented immigrants and held overnight. They were released after the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency said it would not pursue immigration detainers to keep them in custody.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently announced it will review all pending deportations and pursue only high-priority cases. Domenic Powell, co-founder of the N.C. Dream Team, told Fox New Latino that more fundamental immigration reform is needed, and said the protesters were released because ICE was afraid of negative publicity.
Between 2005 and 2009, about 6.8 percent of North Carolina’s population was foreign-born, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.