The legislation would require county sheriffs to work with federal immigration officials.
"This is taking the rights of the people that came out to vote," said Griselda Alonso through a translator.
Alonso is referring to sheriff candidates, including Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker and Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden, who pledged to withdraw their respective departments from the 287 (g) program upon their election. Both Baker and McFadden were elected in November.
"HB 370 is a racist bill. It's going to increase racial profiling. It's going to make it so police has the power to act as ICE. And it's going to continue separating our families," said Coco Eva, an activist who works in the western part of the state.
Counties who would refuse to cooperate with federal officials could face fines of up to $25,500 a day.
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."
HB 370 has passed the House and is pending in the North Carolina Senate. If passed, the legislation would become effective December 1.
Democrats won enough seats in November to break the Republican super-majority. Because of that, they cannot overturn Governor Cooper's vetoes.