North Carolina’s Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper drew jeers from Republicans after vetoing a bill meant to ensure smoother cooperation between state and local law enforcement officials and federal immigration authorities. Several critics slammed Cooper for putting the plight of illegal immigrants – even those who have committed crimes – ahead of the safety of U.S. citizens.
The bill, which called on any and all law enforcement in North Carolina to comply with detainer requests sent to them by ICE, was vetoed by the governor in a move that moves the state closer to “sanctuary” status.
“Law enforcement officers have a sworn responsibility to protect their citizens — and that includes cooperating with federal authorities,” said state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson County). “Governor Cooper, who prefers to pander to his far-left supporters, we will protect North Carolinians and plan to override his irresponsible veto.”
Edwards said the dangers of sanctuary policies had been seen in North Carolina as recently as the previous week, when ICE officers took into custody a Honduran immigrant who had previously been imprisoned on rape and child-sex-offense charges. ICE sent a detainer request to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office at the time the man was in custody, but local law enforcement officials rejected the request and allowed the man to go free.
Nonetheless, Cooper stood by his veto.
“This legislation is simply about scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina,” the governor said. “This bill, in addition to being unconstitutional, weakens law enforcement in North Carolina by mandating sheriffs to do the job of federal agents.”
Of course, it isn’t “unconstitutional,” and it certainly doesn’t force sheriffs to be proxy federal agents. It merely requires local law enforcement to do no more than keep a prisoner in jail for a short length of time, at the end of which ICE agents will come and take them away in the deportation paddy wagon. Thousands of jails across the country manage to do this without “weakening law enforcement,” so there’s no good reason that North Carolina can’t do the same.
“Today we found out North Carolina has a sanctuary governor,” said Republican state Rep. Destin Hall.
Yes, it seems we did.