RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - A new bill filed in the NC State House Thursday would require that sheriffs cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials seeking detainers on illegal immigrants charged with a crime.
The announcement of the bill - House Bill 370 (HB370) - came from the office of House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland). Along with compelling sheriffs to honor and fulfill ICE detainer requests, the bill also makes it unlawful for any county to prohibit ICE officials “entering or conducting immigration enforcement activities in a county jail, confinement facility, or other type of detention center.”
The day after taking office in December, 2018, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden ended the 287(g) program that allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to operate within the Mecklenburg County Jail.
In February, Sheriff McFadden described the decision by ICE agents to more aggressively pursue illegal immigrants with criminal records as a form of ‘cynical fear mongering’ and as a deliberate response to the County’s decision not to recognize the 287(g) program in particular. He called on ICE to work with the Sheriff’s Office with arrests of all criminals rather than just immigrants in the city.
The newly-filed HB370 would allow private citizen who believe their jurisdiction is not in compliance with the law “to bring an action for declaratory or injunctive relief to enforce its provisions and require cooperation with federal officials. Courts could also impose civil penalties against any city, county, or law enforcement agency that fails to comply with federal detention orders.”
“North Carolinians need to know that their elected law enforcement officials intend to uphold the law and that they are always vigilant in protecting their rights,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln). “By ignoring our nation’s laws, they fail in doing just that.”