North Carolina’s state legislature has had a bill introduced that would require sheriffs’ cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the latest move by Republicans to get state and local authorities to carry out more arrests and deportations of illegal immigrants.
If passed, the bill would make it necessary for sheriffs to check that those admitted into jail are legal residents of the U.S.; if they are not, sheriffs would need to make contact with ICE.
If ICE issues a detainer on the prisoner, the legislation would require sheriffs to honor that request by releasing the prisoner into ICE’s custody.
According to the Carolina Journal, the bill was introduced to combat many sheriffs’ refusals to cooperate with immigration enforcement.
State Representative Destin Hall told the Carolina Journal that it was “sad” that a relatively small number of sheriffs chose to “place politics above public safety.”
Hall added that it should be “common sense” for sheriffs to cooperate with ICE “about illegal aliens charged with serious crimes,” explaining that a sheriff’s refusal to do this “only puts more innocent people and officers in harm’s way.”
As sanctuary jurisdictions are on the rise, honoring detainers has become an immigration issue, as these jurisdictions typically refuse to cooperate with ICE, specifically their detainers.
ICE has indicated that it issues detainers on illegal immigrants with criminal charges, who they believe would be deportable under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The detainers, it asserts, allow the agency to take custody of the illegal immigrant in a safe setting.
Supporters of the “sanctuary” jurisdictions believe the law will prevent illegal immigrants from getting the services they need and discourage them from working with law enforcement as they’d fear deportation.
Those who support the law think that it would ensure criminals aren’t let loose on the streets and deter more illegal immigration.