6 NC sheriffs announce opposition to bills forcing them to act as ICE agents

6 NC sheriffs announce opposition to bills forcing them to act as ICE agents

Republicans in the House (HB 10) and Senate (SB 50) have introduced legislation that will force all county sheriffs in North Carolina to act as federal immigration agents. 

Six sheriffs who serve more than three million North Carolinians are standing up against those bills.

This is the third time in the last several years that Republicans have tried passing this bill. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed two previous versions of the measure, but Republicans are trying to garner enough support to override his veto this time.

Sheriffs from Wake, Mecklenburg, Durham, Orange, Buncombe and Wilson counties released a letter voicing their opposition to the legislation, saying that “These bills will make our counties less safe” and that “Multiple studies show that mandatory immigration enforcement makes people less likely to trust government authorities without improving public safety.”

The sheriffs also expressed concern that “these bills do not address the potential liability sheriffs will face due to constitutional violations” and could result in expensive lawsuits.

Republicans pushing HB 10 and SB 50 are focusing on the wrong priorities. This bill, just as much of the other legislation introduced by North Carolina Republicans, is built on using fear to divide North Carolinians and to score political points.

If Republicans actually cared about law enforcement as they claim to, perhaps they would actually listen to the sheriffs whose job it is to protect and serve millions of North Carolinians when they tell legislators that they “must be permitted to set local law enforcement priorities” instead of focusing their attention on federal immigration issues.

Patrick Zarcone

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