North Carolina legislation designed to address recent decisions by some North Carolina sheriffs to stop assisting federal immigration agents is resurfacing in a committee.
The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled debate Wednesday on House Bill 370, a bill that passed that chamber in April. The House legislation required sheriffs in all 100 counties to fulfill detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A few sheriffs elected late last year have said they wouldn’t.
The bill authors say it would only put into law the cooperative approach that sheriffs have had with federal law enforcement for decades. Critics are worried that directive would undermine community safety because immigrants in the country unlawfully would fear reporting crimes.
Advocates for immigrants have held several rallies opposing the bill.
The North Carolina Sheriff’s’ Association (NCSA) had previously come out in April saying they had “no position” on the bill, but a release sent Wednesday says the Association now supports the most current version of HB 370.
The release by the NCSA says they are “opposed to illegal immigration and supports enforcement of the laws against illegal immigration.”
The release goes on to say that “the Association supports cooperation between sheriffs and all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.”
“It is the Association’s position that this edition of House Bill 370 provides an appropriate and careful balance under the Constitution for the rights of the accused and for the public safety of our communities,” the NCSA said
The sheriffs of some of North Carolina’s biggest counties, including Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg, previously said they wouldn’t work with ICE to fulfill detainer requests.