3 North Carolina sheriffs speak against controversial immigration bill

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Sheriffs speak about HB370
Sheriffs speak about HB370

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The controversy surrounding House Bill 370, also known as the "show me your papers" bill, continues.

On Wednesday, several law enforcement leaders gathered in Raleigh to stand together against the bill.

One of the main concerns raised was about money.

The bill could cost each jail an extra $100 per day. That would come out to more than $36,000 per year

Some sheriffs said they strongly feel the legislation in this bill is not about protecting communities, and some felt the purpose of the bill was to single out newly elected sheriffs of the seven largest counties in North Carolina.

"Let me be clear, House Bill 370 has a clear agenda against the newly elected African American sheriffs," said Sheriff Garry McFadden of Mecklenburg County.

HB370 would place a requirement on sheriffs, who would have to work with ICE and participate in its detainer program.

Local law enforcement would be forced to check whether a prisoner is a legal resident when booked on any crime. If a sheriff doesnt comply - they would be removed from office.

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker joined McFadden from Mecklenburg County and Quentin Miller from Buncombe County to represent all of the sheriffs who oppose the bill.

"We as sheriff still have constitutional rights to do certain things," Baker said.

Last week, the North Carolina Sheriff's Association reversed its position to support the controversial immigration bill after it was updated to address concerns voiced by the association.

Rep. Brendan Jones, a Republican who represents Columbus and Robeson counties, said, "This is going to make these guys do what's right to protect the citizens of North Carolina."

A few of the sheriffs said that if the bill passes, they will abide by the law and enforce it, but they will do so unhappily.