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Speakers Want More City Support For Immigrants, Amid ICE Arrests

Dozens of people packed the city council chamber Monday night calling on the city to do more to show support for the city's immigrant community. Resident Melba Evans questioned why Mayor Vi Lyles had not joined other North Carolina mayors in condemning recent raids by Immigration and Custom Enforcement, that resulted in the arrests of more than 200 people that ICE says are in the country illegally.

"Yet you have remained silent," Evans said. "Silence is complicity. Charlotte cannot claim, as you say, to be a welcoming loving community, when you are absolutely silent to families being forced to hide in fear."

[Related Content: Rally Against ICE Gathers In Marshall Park]

Sil Ganzó of Charlotte said she works with immigrant children, who are being terrorized by the ICE arrests.

"The hardest part for me is knowing that I cannot tell the children I work with what they need to hear," Ganzó said. "I cannot tell them that they are safe in Charlotte. I cannot tell them that they belong here, because the city is not showing us that they do."

Andrew Woods of Charlotte told Lyles: "Bishop Tutu said if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. It has been weeks, weeks of the raids. We have begged for your help."

Last week, the Mecklenburg County Commission passed a resolution supporting Sheriff Garry McFadden's decision to drop out of the federal 287(g) program, which lets immigration officials arrest people at the county jail.

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.