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In wake of ICE arrests, Asheville rabbi says immigration system needs to be reworked

Rabbi Batsheva Meiri talks with News 13 on April 18, 2018. Eleven local clergy leaders are standing together, speaking out against the recent operation of U.S. Immigration and Enforcement (ICE). (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Eleven local clergy leaders are standing together, speaking out against the recent operation of U.S. Immigration and Enforcement (ICE).

Bryan Cox, a spokesman for the Atlanta field office of ICE says between Sunday, April 8, and Sunday, April 15, about 40 people across the state were arrested, roughly 15 of them in Western North Carolina.

“As for how the agency conducts operations, ICE continues to focus its limited resources first and foremost on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety and any suggestions as to ICE engaging in random or indiscriminate enforcement are categorically false,” he said in an email.

He also provided the following numbers about I.C.E. administrative arrests from the Atlanta field office which includes Georgia and the Carolinas:

  • FY17: 13,551 arrests, 9,111 convicted criminal – 67 percent
  • FY16: 8,886, 7,816 criminal – 88 percent
  • FY15: 10,093, 9,088 criminal – 90 percent
  • FY14: 14,274, 10,741 criminal – 75 percent
  • FY13: 17,600, 12,851 criminal – 73 percent

A rabbi whose temple is based in Asheville says the entire system needs to be reworked, because she says it prohibits illegal immigrants yet benefits from their work in certain sectors of the economy. dishonest.

“I think figuring out a way that we acknowledge the truth of both of those things would be a much more honest way of approaching it,” said Rabbi Batsheva Meiri of Congregation Beth HaTephila.

She says from there, criminals should be prosecuted but with due process.

The Supreme Court is also weighing in on the immigration debate, ruling “crimes of violence” is too vague to require the mandatory deportation of someone.

“I think that was a really helpful decision in the current debate right now to press that issue and force us to really look at what we’re doing,” Meiri said.

Until then, she said she’ll continue advocating and being an ally for those in the immigrant community.

“The terrorizing and the fear that is traveling within our community is astounding and profoundly disturbing,” she said.

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