CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Rep. Dan Bishop and Sen. Thom Tillis want to bring an end to so-called “sanctuary cities” in America.
On Wednesday, Sen. Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Bishop (R-NC) reintroduced the Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act to combat sanctuary cities. For more information about the newly proposed bill, click here.
“In North Carolina, we’ve seen firsthand how reckless sheriffs can endanger whole counties by flouting federal law enforcement. Sanctuary policies that allow dangerous criminals back on the street make our communities less safe,” said Rep. Bishop. “Our bill removes excuses used to ignore the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requests to detain criminals and incentivizes cooperation with federal law enforcement. Localities should not prioritize liberal agendas over law and order and I’m pleased my colleagues in the Senate support this critical legislation.”
The bill would clarify Department of Homeland Security authorities to issue detainers for criminals who have immigration violations and would clearly establish the authority of states and localities to maintain custody when a detainer has been issued.
It also incentivizes cooperation through the reimbursement of certain detention, technology, and litigation-related costs. Non-compliant jurisdictions will not be prioritized for certain benefits and grants.
A detainer is an administrative request from the federal government to a local law enforcement agency to hold someone in jail even after they are eligible for release on their state charge. A detainer is often used by ICE to keep undocumented immigrants in jail because removal from the country is a civil action and not a criminal matter.
“Reckless sanctuary policies have allowed hundreds of dangerous criminals back into the streets of North Carolina, and that number will continue to increase as President Biden pushes for sanctuary city legislation that puts politics ahead of the safety and security of the American people,” said Sen. Tillis. “The Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act is a critical step in keeping rogue sheriffs in check so that North Carolinians are safe from violent criminals. This legislation clarifies sheriffs’ authority, incentivizes cooperation, and eliminates any excuse sheriffs use to justify why they ignore detainer requests.”
WBTV discovered in 2019 that nearly 500 undocumented immigrants had been released from jails across North Carolina in a ten-month span despite administrative detainers filed against them by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The debate over whether local authorities should cooperate with ICE detainers raged in 2019 after Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden announced he would no longer honor ICE detainers. McFadden campaigned on a pledge to not participate in the 287(g) program, a federal program where local law enforcement agencies are given authority to enforce some immigration laws. McFadden ended his office’s participation in the 287(g) program soon after taking office in December 2018 and also announced he would no longer honor ICE detainers, which are separate from the 287(g) program.
In former President Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address, he highlighted legislation introduced by Sen. Tillis that would allow victims to sue sanctuary cities.
The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act would create a private right of civil action for the victims of sanctuary jurisdictions, allowing them to bring an action for compensatory damages against the sanctuary jurisdiction as a result of a violent crime committed by an illegal immigrant.
That act would allow “any individual, spouse, or child who is a victim [of] a violent crime or felony” to sue, if the injury results from a local municipality not cooperating with an ICE detainer or other request from the Department of Homeland Security, according to a summary from Tillis’s office.