Sanctuary Crime Problem Reaching Critical Levels in North Carolina


April 1, 2022

By Dale Wilcox

While the crisis at our border has been well-documented in the past year, far less attention has been paid to the resulting criminal activity from illegal aliens throughout the country. Sanctuary policies at the city, county, and state levels are enabling this crime wave, and residents need to understand the scope of the problem and demand change.

People across the state of North Carolina have received a sobering reminder of this problem in recent weeks as a spate of illegal alien child sex crime has rocked the state. On March 10, 47-year-old illegal alien Jose Antonio Mejia-Coreas was arrested and charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a child.

Mejia-Coreas was arrested in Wake County, a notorious sanctuary jurisdiction led by progressive Sheriff Gerald Baker. Baker has refused to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement since taking office in late 2018, frequently releasing criminal illegal aliens back onto the street. He clashed with the Trump Administration in 2019 over his sanctuary policies after Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials highlighted Wake County as an example of anti-borders lawlessness.

That same year, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis introduced legislation to deny federal grants to sanctuary counties, mentioning counties in his home state, including Wake.

Wake is one of the largest counties in the state of North Carolina, home to more than one million people and the cities of Raleigh and Durham. It has also been plagued by illegal alien crime under Baker’s leadership. On just one day in March 2022, two dozen sexual assault charges were filed against illegal aliens in the state of North Carolina. One of those charged was a 34-year-old illegal alien male named Jonathan Perez Techaira, who stands accused of over a dozen heinous sex crimes in Wake County, including four counts of incest on a child, four counts of statutory rape, and two counts of crimes against nature, among other offenses.

However, Wake is not the only county in North Carolina that has become a sanctuary for illegal alien crime. Sanctuary policies have undermined the rule of law across the state. The state’s biggest county by population, Mecklenburg, is also a sanctuary county which has refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The most vulnerable residents of the state find themselves increasingly at risk in lawless, sanctuary counties.

The county encompasses the Charlotte area and received national attention in 2019 over its relaxed policies towards criminal illegal aliens. At that time, Mecklenburg County was reportedly preparing to release multiple illegal aliens who had been charged with sex crimes against children. Earlier in March, 33-year-old illegal alien Jairo Alexander Mejia was arrested and charged with statutory rape of a child. Under the sanctuary policies of Sheriff Gary McFadden, Mejia will likely be released back into the community.

In 2020, then-U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray criticized sheriffs in the state who have refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

“The Sheriffs of Mecklenburg and Buncombe Counties prioritize the protection of criminal aliens above the safety and protection of our communities,” Murray said. “Rather than uphold our nation’s laws, the Sheriffs compromise the safety of the people they swore to serve and protect.”

The state of North Carolina has a sanctuary problem. There have been attempts to address these problems at the federal and state level, including in 2019, when the North Carolina state legislature passed legislation allowing for the removal of sheriffs who refuse to follow federal immigration law. That bill was vetoed by Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. Now, the most vulnerable residents of his state find themselves increasingly at risk in lawless, sanctuary counties.

North Carolina is not the only state that has seen a breakdown of the rule of law over sanctuary policies. Similar stories have emerged in other states, including Maryland, California, and New Jersey, among others.

With the border crisis caused by the Biden administration poised to deteriorate even further, there are likely to be even more stories about these kinds of violent, heinous crimes. Elected officials across the country must have the political courage to do what’s necessary to protect their most vulnerable residents, including and especially children.

Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Also published at: Dale L. Wilcox, Sanctuary Crime Problem Reaching Critical Levels in North CarolinaTownhall, April 1, 2022.

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