Gov. Cooper opposes bill forcing sheriffs to cooperate with ICE

Updated: Jun. 24, 2019 at 4:54 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Teo Armus, Jacqueline Melinek & Elizabeth Thompson // The Charlotte Observer) - Gov. Roy Cooper called an effort by state lawmakers to require law enforcement agencies to cooperate with immigration authorities “unconstitutional” in a statement Monday.

“As the former top law enforcement officer in our state, I know that current law allows us to lock up and prosecute dangerous criminals regardless of immigration status,” Cooper said in the statement. “This bill isn’t about that — in addition to being unconstitutional, it’s about scoring political points and using fear to divide us.”

The North Carolina Senate planned to vote Monday evening on House Bill 370, which would require sheriffs to cooperate with ICE. The House has passed the bill. To become law, HB 370 would need approval from Cooper or from super-majorities in the legislature.

On Monday morning, activists gathered in protest of the bill at the North Carolina General Assembly and called on Cooper to speak up before the bill lands on his desk. They carried signs that said in black and white, “Hands Off Our Sheriffs,” “Truth & Facts Matter,” and “Vote No HB370.”

McFadden is one of six newly elected African American sheriffs in the state’s most populous counties who have stopped honoring immigration detainers and otherwise distanced themselves from the federal agency.

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