Sponsors say legislation will protect public and law enforcement, apply to criminal charges against suspected illegal immigrants
Multiple North Carolina counties currently refusing to cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
State House leaders filed legislation on Thursday to require North Carolina sheriffs cooperate with federal officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency seeking to serve detainers on suspected illegal immigrants charged with crimes.
House Bill 370 Require Sheriff Cooperation With ICE compels county sheriffs in North Carolina to honor and fulfill detainer requests from the federal government for illegal immigrants who are already incarcerated for being charged with a crime.
The bill also makes it unlawful for any county to prohibit federal immigration officials from entering or conducting immigration enforcement activities in a county jail, confinement facility, or other type of detention center.
The legislation does not apply to persons who are victims or witnesses of a criminal offense, anyone who is reporting an offense, or anyone who can establish lawful United States citizenship or legal immigration into the country.
H.B. 370 is sponsored by Rep. Destin Hall, Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Columbus) Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), and Rep. Carson Smith (R-Pender). The bill is co-sponsored by state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).
“Several sheriffs in North Carolina aren’t communicating with their fellow law enforcement officers about the detention of illegal immigrants accused of crimes,” Rep. Hall said. “These sheriffs are putting politics ahead of public safety.”
“Their failure to cooperate with immigration officials only puts more innocent people and officers in harm’s way.”
The bill also allows any private citizen who resides in a jurisdiction they believe is not in compliance with the proposed 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.
The legislation also requires sheriffs’ offices to track and report the number of queries they make to federal officials under its provisions.
State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said he co-sponsored the legislation to protect law-abiding North Carolinians who face enforcement of state and federal law.
“If the law-abiding citizens of North Carolina are subject to enforcement of state and federal law, then illegal immigrants detained for committing crimes should be too,” Moore said.