Mecklenburg County Senator and House Lawmakers Respond to Governor’s Veto of ICE Detainer Bill Supported by N.C. Sheriffs

Raleigh, N.C. – Mecklenburg County Senator Dan Bishop joined North Carolina House lawmakers at a press conference today responding to Governor Cooper’s veto of House Bill 370 Require Cooperation with ICE Detainers.    

H.B. 370 received final approval from the state House of Representatives this week and would require sheriffs to comply with detainers and administrative warrants issued by ICE.  The bill authorizes the removal of a sheriff from office for failing to comply with ICE detainers.

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association supports the bill as a “high priority,” but Governor Cooper vetoed it anyway.

Rep. Destin Hall (R-Caldwell) is the primary sponsor of H.B. 370 and the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Matters.

“Today we found out North Carolina has a sanctuary Governor,” Rep. Hall said, “as Governor Cooper has vetoed House Bill 370 that simply would have required sheriffs to honor ICE detainers, something almost every sheriff in this state is already doing.”

The Mecklenburg County sheriff has refused to cooperate with ICE detainers and instead released wanted illegal immigrants accused of crimes including first-degree rape, indecent liberties with a minor, assault on a female, communicating threats, assault by strangulation, first degree kidnapping, assault on a female, and domestic violence protective order violations.

Senator Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) is the only Republican state legislator representing Mecklenburg County.

“Many claim to be voices of moderation and to be prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats in a bipartisan way,” Sen. Bishop said.  “I can’t think of any issue where it would be more obvious and more appropriate to do that than when community safety and protection of victims is at issue.”  

 “The Governor should have signed this legislation, and it still should pass over his veto.”

Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) is a co-sponsor of House Bill 370.

“What just happened in Charlotte, where a person charged with rape, had an ICE detainer issued, and the sheriff let him walk out the door, is an outrage,” Speaker Moore said.  “This is bigger than politics, this is about public safety, and while I am not surprised the Governor decided to veto it, I am immensely disappointed.”

Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Columbus) said the Governor abandoned North Carolinians with his veto of H.B. 370. 

“How could the Governor choose to abandon the people of North Carolina and their safety?” said Rep. Jones. “This was commonsense legislation for the protection of our people.  This Governor has decided to side with illegal immigrants charged with serious crimes over the citizens of North Carolina.”

 Rep. Carson Smith (R-Pender) was the sheriff of Pender County for 16 years and attended the press conference.

“I am extremely disappointed this was vetoed and that it happened so quickly,” said Rep. Smith.  “This bill does one thing – it treats an illegal immigrant accused of a crime the same way we treat citizens of the United States who are in jail.”