In a memo to county commissioners this week, County Attorney Clyde Albright claims that a local immigrant rights group has made deals with the U.S. Department of Justice for illegal immigrants who provide testimony against Sheriff Terry Johnson in a discrimination lawsuit.
“I obtained letters that show the DOJ is collaborating with the North Carolina Immigrant Rights Project to obtain dismissal of deportation proceedings against three illegal aliens arrested by the sheriff in July of 2012 and August of 2012,” Albright’s memo stated. “These letters appeared in a legal clinic website as examples of how to get the federal government to drop deportation proceedings against illegal aliens.”
The April 26, 2012 letters obtained by Albright were from attorney Martin Rosenbluth representing North Carolina Immigrant Rights Project to U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Chief Counsel Alfie Owens.
In the letters, Rosenbluth asks the Department of Homeland Security to exercise prosecutorial discretion authority and terminate deportation proceedings for three of his clients. Rosenbluth said this week he has represented many illegal immigrants facing deportation in Alamance County and other counties across the state.
“As you are aware, on June 17, 2011 ICE Director John Morton issued a memo to ICE Field Office Directors, Special Agents in Charge, and Chief Counsels, to provide guidance to all ICE officials on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” Rosenbluth’s letter states.
Rosenbluth said his clients were taken into ICE custody after they were arrested by the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office on charges of driving a vehicle without an operator’s license. These clients were cooperating after their arrests as witnesses for the Department of Justice into the practices of the Sheriff’s Office, according to the letters.
Their removal from the country by the federal government would negatively affect the DOJ”s investigation, according to Rosenbluth’s letter.
Albright’s memo to the commissioners indicates he believes that the three illegal immigrants’ deportations were dismissed in return for their cooperation in the DOJ investigation.
“One can only wonder what promises were made by the DOJ to obtain testimony against the sheriff from these three criminals that were arrested by the sheriff,” Albright stated.
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