Sima update

I read on two blogs (but not in the papers, hmmm) that Sima Fallahi is expected to be released very soon. The Mill said on 2/1/07 that it could be "any day now" and Orange Chat wrote the same on Monday:

An attorney for Sima Fallahi, the Carrboro resident facing deportation to her native Iran, confirms that she could released soon. We'll know in roughly two weeks whether her failed attempt at asylum status will be reopened, said attorney Randall Stroud.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement are considering Fallahi for "low flight risk" status. That means she could come back to Carrboro and check in periodically with immigration agents as the courts are reviewing her case.
- |Orange Chat - Sima's lawyer: She could be out 'any day now', 2/12/07

I understand civil liberties activist will be addressing the Town Council soon to ensure that this kind of thing never happens in Chapel Hill again. More on that when I next hear from Peggy Misch...



I'd like to see the Chapel Hill Town Council pass a resolution preventing the CH Police from doing the work of the INS. (Holding people for pickup by the INS or arresting people for anything related to Immigration.) A similar resolution was passed by the Town of Carrboro, correct? (Specifics anyone?)

Also I think an official apology from the Town of Chapel Hill is in order. Plus a commitment to protect all residents from the racist policies of the Bush government.

My suggestions are not a call for the police not to do their job or ignore the law. Especially when it relates to violent crime. But much of the implementation of immigration law is unjust and politically motivated. We must show that the Town of Chapel Hill, who passed a resolution against the Iraq War, is not part of the trend of xenophobic harassment of immigrants.

From the Town of Carrboro Board of Alderman meeting minutes May 16, 2006. Original PDF


At its meeting on April 18, 2006, the Board directed the Town Attorney to research the issue of whether the Town's police officers are authorized or required to take into custody persons whose only known violation of law is or may be a civil immigration violation. The Town Attorney prepared a response to the Board's request. The purpose of this item is for the Board to consider the adoption of a resolution establishing a policy for the police department to follow on this issue.

The following resolution was introduced by Alderman Dan Coleman and duly seconded by Alderman Jacquelyn Gist.

Resolution No. 123/2005-06

Carrboro Board of Aldermen Page 10 May 16, 2006
WHEREAS, in Section 15A-401 of the North Carolina General Statutes, the General Assembly has specified the circumstances under which law enforcement officers may arrest persons, with or without an arrest warrant; and

WHEREAS, the list of circumstances under which a person may be arrested does not include an arrest of persons whose only known violation of law is or may be a civil violation of federal immigration statutes;

NOW THEREFORE, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen resolves:
Section 1. It shall be the policy of the Carrboro Police Department not to arrest or take into custody persons when the sole basis for arresting or taking such persons into custody is that they have or may have committed a civil immigration violation.

Section 2. This resolution shall become effective upon adoption.

The foregoing resolution having been submitted to a vote, received the following vote and was duly adopted this 16th day of May, 2006:

Ayes: Joal Hall Broun, Mark Chilton, Dan Coleman, Jacquelyn Gist, John Herrera, Randee Haven-O'Donnell, Alex Zaffron

Noes: None

Absent or Excused: None

Can the Chapel Hill Town Council do the same?

Here's more info from an email I received this morning. Three cheers for the CHPD for taking action on changing their policy.


After the incident in early December involving the detention of Ms. Sima Fallahi on an outstanding order of deportation, we clarified our policies regarding what actions officers will take should they encounter an individual with an outstanding order of custody in effect by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). (NOTE: If you recall, we did not initiate a check on Ms. Fallahi's residency status. A notice regarding the outstanding deportation order came up when we were conducting a required background check for her solicitation permit application).

If an officer runs a license or warrant check on an individual during the normal course of duty (i.e. during a traffic stop, after breaking up a fight, while serving other warrants) and that check indicates an order of final deportation or an order of detention exists on that individual, the officer will take one of two actions:

· If the warrant from ICE contains the words “felon” or “deported criminal” the officer will contact ICE and, if the warrant is indeed criminal in nature, that individual will be held on the outstanding warrant.

· If the order stipulates that the warrant is administrative or civil in nature, or if the warrant does not indicate the underlying reason for its issuance, the officer will contact our police attorney and/or the chief of police before calling ICE. If the warrant is confirmed as civil in nature, we will not detain the individual.

Police Attorney Terrie Gale is in the process of formalizing our immigration enforcement protocols for inclusion in the department's policy manual. Within the past month all officers have received training from Ms. Gale on our enforcement protocols.

Finally, North Carolina General Statute 128-1.1 authorizes local law enforcement agencies to enter into agreements with federal agencies for the purposes of enforcing federal statutes and regulations. Some North Carolina agencies have entered into such agreements for the purposes of being local agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We have not and will not enter into such agreements.

That's great news Jackie. Thanks for sharing that info.

Dear Chapel Hill Town Council,
I'd still like to see a resolution from you. Plus a formal apology to Sima and her family for going through all this.

I understand that the practical bit of how the police handle cases like this has changed. Yet we still need a council response to back it up. Please show us your political courage. Publicly demonstrate that you represent our community values of tolerance and racial harmony. This case is related to the war in Iraq.

I know ya'll are very busy people with lots on your plate. But doesn't this positive change in the Town's policy deserve highlighting during a regular town business meeting?

I hope our new Police Chief will continue this and other fine policies in relation to the civil liberties of town residents.

Thank you!

Looks like the council is going to officially apologize tonight and offer to help pay Sima's legal bills too. See this OP post for more info.

I'm always inspired by Peggy's determination in fighting the good fight to protect our Bill of Rights. I'm sure some don't understand or support her "single mindedness" in pursuing this goal - but she's protecting their rights as much as anyone else

Its really great to hear that Sima is home. I wish her and her family much luck!

Please Chapel Hill Town council... consider helping Sima with her legal bills. Thank you.

In case you haven't heard, Sima Fallahi was released from the Mecklenburg County Jail yesterday afternoon and is now home in Carrboro with her daughter, Leila. The two of them are happy that Sima's three-month-long imprisonment has been ended.

According to Bob Wright, “The legal hurdles (and legal expenses) are not over. Sima is under supervised release and must report periodically to the ICE office in Charlotte. Because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not opposed Sima's motion to reopen the proceedings on Sima's deportation order, it is very likely that the motion will be granted. However, DHS reserves the right to challenge the merits of this case. It may take several months for the immigration court to make a decision. If the order is lifted, Sima must then reapply for political asylum. Sima will be able to stay in this country only if she gets political asylum.”

Yay! That's great news, Dan!

I hope folks will keep us informed about anything we can do to help Sima as her case moves forward.

Sima will be showing her art tomorrow night (Friday) from 6-9 at the Century Center, part of the 2nd Friday Art Walk.


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