RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would've forced local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE detainment requests.
House Bill 370 has been debated for months. It eventually passed North Carolina's General Assembly, but Wednesday, Cooper vetoed the bill.
Critics of the bill said it was a targeted attempt to remove seven newly elected sheriff's from office.
RELATED: 3 North Carolina sheriffs speak against controversial immigration bill
Cooper released the following statement about his veto:
"This legislation is simply about scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina. As the former top law enforcement officer of our state, I know that current law allows the state to jail and prosecute dangerous criminals regardless of immigration status. This bill, in addition to being unconstitutional, weakens law enforcement in North Carolina by mandating sheriffs to do the job of federal agents, using local resources that could hurt their ability to protect their counties. Finally, to elevate their partisan political pandering, the legislature has made a sheriff's violation of this new immigration duty as the only specifically named duty violation that can result in a sheriff's removal from office."
NC Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) released the following statement:
"Despite Governor Cooper's attempt to distract folks with reckless rhetoric and name calling, the message this veto sends is abundantly clear: He is more concerned about protecting the 'rights' of people in this country illegally who are in jail for committing crimes than he is about protecting the safety of our communities and the citizens that live in them. Instead of signing this common sense bill, Governor Cooper is choosing to side with sheriffs like the Mecklenburg County Sheriff who in June ignored an ICE detainer request on a man in custody for rape and child sex offense charges and released this dangerous individual back into the community. Thankfully ICE tracked down this suspect earlier this month without further incident, but that won't always be the case in these instances. Law enforcement officers have a sworn responsibility to protect their citizens and that includes cooperating with federal authorities. Unlike Governor Cooper who prefers to pander to his far left supporters, we will protect North Carolinians and plan to override his irresponsible veto."
NOTE: Video attached to this article is from a previous story about HB370.
Gov. Cooper vetoes bill that threatened sheriffs who declined ICE detainment requests