One of the biggest topics of conversation in Raleigh over the past week or two has been proposed legislation, HB370, requiring North Carolina sheriffs to cooperate with ICE bills of detainer. Most notably, sheriffs in Mecklenburg and Wake won on platforms of opposition to a lot of the policies regarding immigration that the White House has espoused.
The North Carolina ACLU came out against this measure early on, in March, stating that:
The ACLU of North Carolina opposes HB 370, an anti-immigrant bill that circumvents the local authority of sheriffs by requiring them to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and assist in the federal government’s deportation pipeline or face financial penalties. The proposal is transparent retaliation against the growing number of sheriffs across North Carolina who have pledged to not assist ICE with targeting or detaining community members for immigration offenses. Sheriffs in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, for example, were elected by voters after promising to end the federal 287(g) program, which has led to family separation, the deportation of thousands, and greater mistrust and fear in our communities.
Today, in a bit of a shock, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association released a statement in opposition as well. They were reportedly asking GOP legislators to pump the brakes on this, but the bill made it through committee and is slated to hit the House floor soon. Part of the Sheriffs’ Association statement:
This will undoubtedly put pressure on Republican supporters of what looked like an easy win for the House GOP. A lot of the implied arguments in favor of the bill is that it would help keep our state safe; that argument is far less compelling when the Sheriffs’ Association adopts the position of OPPOSE-HIGH PRIORITY.
Kirk Kovach is a native North Carolinian interested in writing about politics, communication and culture.