RALEIGH, N.C. – A broad coalition of immigrants’ rights organizations condemns continued attempts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and General Assembly leadership to advance anti-immigrant policies including House Bill 370, an extreme anti-immigrant bill that would force county sheriffs to help ICE detain and deport community members or face removal from office. NC House Speaker Tim Moore along with Department of Homeland Security officials held a closed “roundtable” and press conference today about the bill.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Campaign for Southern Equality, El Centro Hispano, Comité Acción Popular (CAP), Comité Popular Somos Raleigh, Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas (CIMA), Comunidad Colectiva, Just Futures Law, North Carolina Justice Center, Poder NC Action, El Pueblo, Siembra NC, Southeast Asian Coalition, and other organizations condemned today’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and have opposed House Bill 370.
“These actions in North Carolina come on the heels of DHS policies that seek to separate children from families, deny asylum-seekers the right to apply for protections, and raise fees for immigrants who wish to become citizens,” said Angeline Echeverría, Executive Director for El Pueblo. “Today’s publicity stunt is only the latest in a campaign to demonize and violate the human rights of immigrants.”
“Legislators are making a blatant attempt to further criminalize immigrants and assist in maintaining Trump’s deportation force that’s separating families in our state,” Eliazar Posada, Community Engagement & Advocacy Department Director for El Centro Hispano.
“ICE should not be getting involved in local politics, and we urge state lawmakers to sustain the governor’s veto of House Bill 370,” said Alissa Ellis, the Regional Immigrants’ Rights Strategist for the ACLU of North Carolina. “North Carolinians chose to end collaboration with ICE, and today’s press conference demonstrates how far ICE is willing to go to usurp the will of voters.”
Study after study shows that local law enforcement cooperation with ICE does not make communities safer. 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.