North Carolina Lt. Gov. and Republican candidate for governor, Mark Robinson, had tough words for the Biden Administration after an armed known terror watchlist suspect was arrested after a four-hour-long standoff last week in Eure, North Carolina in Gates County. 

Robinson held a press conference Monday at the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Blount Street in Raleigh. 

Awet Hagos, who is originally from Yemen, arrived in the US after residing in Haiti.

Law enforcement in Gates County were recently called to a scene of ‘shots fired’ amid reports that a man was standing outside of a local business waving a firearm. When deputies moved in to apprehend him, he tried to disarm a deputy before fleeing. Awet Hagos was charged with three counts each of assault on a government official and resisting a public officer, as well as a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. 

Robinson said he was briefed by Gates County Sheriff Ray Campbell who reported that, after speaking with Hagos, he learned that he had a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer.

Robinson stressed that the department’s 12 deputies shouldn’t have had to deal with the “violent illegal immigrant” and is demanding answers from the Biden Administration in a letter that his office sent to President Biden this morning. Campbell, Senate Leader Phil Berger, and House Speaker Tim Moore also signed the letter.

“I called on President Biden to give immediate answers,” Robinson told reporters. “How did Hagos enter the United States? How did Hagos get to North Carolina? Did he travel by air, interstate, or rail? Are there other places that he’s been in our state that he’s traveled to or through, and should those areas be on alert?”

Additional questions posed in the letter include: What are Hagos’ suspected ties to terrorist groups and/or activities? Is Hagos believed to be acting alone? Does Hagos have any known associates, friends, or family that you believe are also here? When Hagos applied for and was denied American citizenship, why was he not detained then, and how and who locally was alerted to his whereabouts at that time? Is the Federal Government aware of any other potential terrorist suspects in North Carolina – whether they have any ties to Hagos or not? 

He also noted that over the last few years, the state experienced multiple attacks on its infrastructure, including a cyberattack on a natural gas pipeline and multiple sabotaged power substations. 

Also concerning, according to Robinson, is that Hagos was living just an hour from multiple military installations in both North Carolina and Virginia. He said it was imperative to know immediately if Hagos has known terrorist ties, whether he’s been in contact with any associates, and if there is any imminent danger to the citizens of North Carolina.

“The silence from the Biden administration on this situation is not an isolated incident,” he stated. “Not even our elected officials in Congress or the Senate have been able to get any answers from him. Last week, members of our federal delegation wrote a letter demanding answers regarding a migrant housing facility in Greensboro. They received no information from the Biden Administration despite this facility going online.”

Robinson called for a higher level of scrutiny in the migrant facility in Greensboro that will house around 800 immigrants 13 to 17 years old. He said the facility deserves a higher level of scrutiny.

He also discussed the 2022 murder of Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy Ned Byrd by illegal immigrants, noting one of the suspects charged was first apprehended by ICE as a minor, deported, but managed to cross back into the US again from Mexico.

Under the Biden Administration, Robinson stated, over 7 million people have entered the US illegally — about half a million illegal immigrants are here in North Carolina —and there is very little information coming from the federal government about them. 

Robinson had a message for Biden as he and Vice President Kamala Harris are scheduled to appear on March 26 in Raleigh.

“We deserve answers,” he said. “Our police and law enforcement deserve support, transparency, and information. Mr. President, for you to keep our state in the dark about an armed illegal who’s on the terrorist watchlist from an area near Yemen is not only wrong, it’s dangerous, and the people of this great state deserve better.” 

A reporter asked Robinson that since the arrest was made last week, at what point between then and now did this become an urgent public safety threat. Robinson replied that it was urgent from the very beginning and contacted the sheriff to ask if he needed any assistance. He also said that all Council of State members were also sent the letter that Robinson sent to Biden.

When asked if federal law enforcement has contacts in the state without state leaders being aware, Robinson said that is what they are afraid of, and that state leaders just want better cooperation, transparency, and better communication.

He said he is particularly concerned about a pattern of non-cooperation, especially with the illegal immigrant housing facility in Greensboro, with federal officials being more transparent with information to state leaders and that sheriffs across the state that he has spoken to agree.

Carolina Journal asked Robinson about what he would say to Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden, who is not on board with cooperating with ICE, and has been very vocal about it.  

“I have not spoken with him, but if I did speak with him, I would urge him to definitely cooperate with the federal government on those detainers,” he told CJ. “It’s very important to national security, and I believe that all sheriffs should.”

Robinson also said that he hoped Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein, who is also the Democratic candidate for governor, would ask Biden next week whether or not Hagos is connected to a broader terrorist organization.

“We would hope that they would definitely ask him that question for the safety and security of our citizens of North Carolina,” he said.