RALEIGH - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper today vetoed House Bill 370, an extreme anti-immigrant bill that would force county sheriffs to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement detain and deport community members or face removal from office.    

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and more than 100 other groups had urged Cooper to issue the veto.    

“We applaud Governor Cooper for standing up for all communities and vetoing this extreme and dangerous anti-immigrant bill,” said Alissa Ellis, the Regional Immigrants’ Rights Strategist for the ACLU of North Carolina. “House Bill 370 seeks to undo the will of voters across the state by forcing democratically elected sheriffs to do ICE’s bidding and help the Trump administration carry out its brutal deportation agenda. If it were to become law, this dangerous measure would make all communities less safe by spreading fear and discouraging witnesses and victims of crime from contacting law enforcement. We urge legislators to sustain the governor’s veto in order to ensure that this vindictive attack on our communities and local governments never becomes law.”    

Under House Bill 370:                   

  • Sheriffs could face removal from office if they do not comply with ICE requests to hold people in jail for up to 48 hours after they are eligible for release under state law. So-called “ICE detainer requests” often lack probable cause and can lead to the prolonged detention of people without a court order, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
  • The bill contains no protections or exceptions for witnesses or victims of crime.
  • Sheriffs are required to investigate the immigration status of every person brought to county jails and report non-citizens to ICE, even for very minor charges.

Last year, voters in North Carolina’s two largest counties – Mecklenburg and Wake – elected sheriffs who campaigned on promises, now fulfilled, to end their county’s involvement in the federal 287(g) program, a partnership with federal immigration officers that has led to the deportation of thousands from North Carolina. Sheriffs in Buncombe, Forsyth, Guilford, and Durham counties have also announced that they will no longer hold people in jail on ICE detainer requests.