Raleigh, N.C. – State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) spoke to reporters Monday ahead of a vote in the North Carolina Senate on legislation he co-sponsored, House Bill 370 Require Sheriff Cooperation With ICE.
Speaker Moore previously expressed support for the legislation on Fox News. He addressed the media Monday following a press conference by groups that oppose the legislation even though it only applies to illegal immigrants who are already in county jails and charged with crimes.
Speaker Moore emphasized that the legislation is supported by the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association as a “high priority” on its state policy agenda.
“What this bill does is essentially codify what is the current practice in most counties around this state,” Moore told reporters Monday.
“If someone is here illegally – and they break the law, that’s an important distinction, this is someone who has actually been arrested and put in jail – that before that person is released, if there’s an ICE issue they work with the ICE officers.”
“If there’s a disagreement about whether there should be a detainer, they simply go before a judicial official. You’re not talking about someone here under questionable legal status, working and obeying the laws. This is someone who is here illegally and is actually violating laws.”
“These are serious enough criminal offenses where they’ve actually been arrested and taken into custody.”
“So when we don’t do that, then they are just released, there is nothing to guarantee they won’t commit the crime again.”
“It’s the same as anyone else, whether you’re here legally or illegally, if someone has committed a violent crime and is just released with no accountability, they’ll go out and possibly do it again.”
Speaker Moore noted an ongoing controversy in Mecklenburg County where the sheriff released a previously deported illegal immigrant charged with crimes including assault on a female, communicating threats, felony larceny, simple assault, and injury to personal property, despite an ICE detainer.
Luis Pineda-Anchet was arrested again two days later and charged with assault by strangulation, first degree kidnapping, assault on a female, domestic violence protective order violation, communicating threats, felony larceny, assault on a female, simple assault, and injury to personal property.
Pineda-Anchet was released again on June 1, 2019.
“There have been several examples since this happened,” Moore said. “In Charlotte for example, where someone was arrested on serious domestic violence charges and was released even though ICE wanted to detain the person. They went out a couple weeks later and committed a crime again and had a standoff with law enforcement.”
“If there is a dispute about whether a sheriff wants to honor this, then a judge can weigh-in. It’s important to know that the revised bill the senate is taking up now has the full support of the Sheriffs’ Association.”
“This bill is about people who are here illegally and are violating the laws. This is about making the entire population of North Carolina safer.”
“If someone is simply released from jail and ICE officials do not know, it makes it more difficult for them to track them down when these folks who committed crimes were actually in custody.”
“We feel very confident that the bill will pass the senate and that once it comes back from the senate, the House will pass it again. Now with the Sheriffs’ Association putting its weight and support behind the bill, we are hopeful that the Governor will sign it.”
The state Senate is scheduled to vote on H.B. 370 Require Sheriff Cooperation With ICE on Monday evening.