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Requirement for North Carolina Sheriffs to Cooperate with ICE One Step Closer to Becoming Law

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A bill about immigration detainer requests in the North Carolina General Assembly is now a step closer to becoming law.

House Bill 10 was approved by lawmakers earlier this week, and it’s now awaiting debate in the state Senate. If it passes, North Carolina sheriffs would be required to comply with detainer requests for suspects accused of being in the United States without documentation.

But Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden said deputies are already cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under North Carolina general statute 162.62.

“That is the law that mandates every sheriff in North Carolina to cooperate with ICE. I’ve said that 1,000 times,” he said.

Referring to the statue, McFadden explained, “We ask the person about their citizenship. If we cannot determine their citizenship, we contact ICE. That’s section A.”

Section B basically says the facility – such as the Mecklenburg County Jail – has to tell ICE about where the person is being held and when they got arrested if queried.

Then comes the issue of release. Right now, Sheriff McFadden says North Carolina law dictates someone should be released from jail if they meet the requirements.

The sheriff said about section C of the statute, “We cannot hold that person in custody if they meet all the criteria of the release.”

According to McFadden, if the person meets the requirement of their release, a judge or magistrate will then give the sheriff an order through the court to release that person. He says right now, ICE detainer requests would put his deputies at odds with court orders.

“A detainer is simply an ICE agent faxing over an ask, a request that I hold him in my detention center,” McFadden said. “If I do, then I’m going against the courts. If I don’t, I’m fine but then he has no authority, legal authority to tell me to hold that person.”

McFadden added the undocumented person still has a date to appear in court.

Republican state Representative Destin Hall, one of the sponsors of the bill, posted a video on Twitter earlier this year, explaining why he thinks HB 10 needs to pass.

Hall, whose district includes Caldwell and Watauga counties, said, “These sanctuary sheriffs creating an environment where illegal aliens who have been charged with serious crimes in our state are protected from deportation and released back into our communities who often commit new crimes.”

Supporters like Hall and those against the bill, including Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden, both argued public safety is central to their concerns.

But McFadden told WCNC’s Jane Monreal that creating a new law to honor voluntary detainers is redundant.

“They have the ability to look at it and say that person has re-entered the United States again illegally. There is a law on the books, on the federal books, and they can file a federal complaint of illegal reentry,” he said. “So the simple question for us is this, why don’t you utilize these two federal laws instead of forcing local sheriffs to do your job?”

WCNC Charlotte reached out to ICE for comment. We are waiting to hear back.

The bill passed with all 71 House Republicans voting in favor. It was sent to the Senate for committee and a vote, for which a date has not been announced.

Source : WCNC