NC bill would require sheriffs cooperate with ICE detainers

Credit: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office.

A new bill would require sheriffs in North Carolina to cooperate with federal officials from ICE seeking to serve detainers on suspected illegal immigrants charged with crimes.

House Bill 370, Require Sheriff Cooperation With Ice, compels county sheriffs in North Carolina to honor and fulfill detainer requests from the federal government for illegal immigrants who are already incarcerated for being charged with a crime.

RELATED: At least a dozen people arrested by ICE agents in Charlotte, community group says

The bill also makes it unlawful for any county to prohibit federal immigration officials from entering or conducting immigration enforcement activities in a county jail, confinement facility, or other type of detention center. 

“Several sheriffs in North Carolina aren’t communicating with their fellow law enforcement officers about the detention of illegal immigrants accused of crimes,” said Rep. Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), a sponsor of the bill. “Their failure to cooperate with immigration officials only puts more innocent people and officers in harm’s way.”

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden ended the sheriff's office collaboration with ICE in 2018. The 287(g) program allowed ICE to operate within the county jail. Mecklenburg County was one of only approximately 78 counties nationwide - out of more than 3,000 - that voluntarily agreed to engage in this type of arrangement. 

"It erodes trust with our community and ties up critical resources that should be used to ensure public safety,” McFadden said in a statement referring to the 287(g) program.

RELATED: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office ends agreement with ICE

The new legislation would also require sheriffs’ offices to track and report the number of queries they make to federal officials under its provisions. 

This story was reported on from Charlotte, N.C.