Pre-order Behind Crimmigration: ICE, Law Enforcement, and Resistance in America

In recent years, dozens of counties in North Carolina have partnered with federal law enforcement in the criminalization of immigration—what many have dubbed “crimmigration.” Southern border enforcement still monopolizes the national immigration debate, but immigration enforcement has become common within the United States as well. While Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations are a major part of American immigration enforcement, Felicia Arriaga maintains that ICE relies on an already well-established system—the use of local law enforcement and local governments to identify, incarcerate, and deport undocumented immigrants.


Arriaga contends that the long-term partnership between local sheriffs and immigration law enforcement in places like North Carolina has created a form of racialized social control of the Latinx community. Arriaga uses data from five county sheriff’s offices and their governing bodies to trace the creation and subsequent normalization of ICE and local law enforcement partnerships. Arriaga argues that the methods used by these partnerships to control immigration are employed throughout the United States, but they have been particularly visible in North Carolina, where the Latinx population increased by 111 percent between 2000 and 2010. Arriaga’s evidence also reveals how Latinx communities are resisting and adapting to these systems.

2019 National Changes

In 2019, new versions of the 287(g) Program began in Florida. These are Warrant Service Officer Programs. You can find fact sheets from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in English and Spanish. The counties in NC that recently adopted these are: Alamance, Albemarle, Avery, Brunswick, Caldwell, Cleveland, Duplin, Lincoln, Nash, Randolph, Rockingham, and Yancey.

2018 Efforts in NC

2015 Map of 287(g) Counties in NC

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Here is an in-progress storymap of some of my work. And a timeline of criminalization processes of immigrants at the intersection of the United States and North Carolina policies.

Local Projects-287(g) Fact Sheets (2015-2017)

Henderson County-English

Henderson County-Espanol

Wake County-English

Wake County-Espanol

Longer County Reports