HB370, the North Carolina immigration bill some sheriffs say targets them, passes NC Senate vote

Michael Perchick Image
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
HB370 passes NC Senate
HB370 passes NC Senate

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The North Carolina state Senate voted 26-17 on Monday in favor of House Bill 370, which would require county sheriffs to cooperate with ICE detainment requests.

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The bill now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper, who has said he disagrees with the proposal.

The measure requires all North Carolina sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration authorities when dealing with immigrants who are suspected of being in the country illegally and who are already in jail for committing other crimes that have detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"We should all be able to agree that serious criminals who are in this country illegally should not be allowed to stay in the United States," said Sen. Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson. "This bill simply requires local law enforcement to work together with federal immigration authorities to ensure that the safety of our citizens is the number one priority."

On Wednesday, three sheriffs took a stand to push back on the bill. They said the bill is an attempt to get seven newly elected sheriff's removed from office.

Those sheriffs were elected after vowing to withdraw from a program where deputies would turn over undocumented immigrants charged with crimes to federal immigration authorities.

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker is one of the seven sheriff's against HB370. The bill did not initially get the support of the North Carolina Sheriff's Association, but after some changes to the bill's wording, the group changed its stance and now supports HB370.

Back in March, House Speaker Tim Moore, one of the bill's co-sponsors said, "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."

The N.C. Sheriffs' Association supported the bill and released a statement earlier this month saying that the bill, "provides an appropriate and careful balance under the Constitution for the rights of the accused and for the public safety of our communities."

If HB370 gets Cooper's signature, it would become effective Dec. 1.