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(Raleigh) – State House leaders filed legislation on Thursday to require North Carolina sheriffs cooperate with federal officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency 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.

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.

The legislation does not apply to persons who are victims or witnesses of a criminal offense, anyone who is reporting an offense, or anyone who can establish lawful United States citizenship or legal immigration into the country.

H.B. 370 is sponsored by Rep. Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Columbus) Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), and Rep. Carson Smith (R-Pender). The bill is co-sponsored by state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).

Rep. Hall is chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Matters as well as the House Elections Committee, Rep. Jones is the Deputy Majority Leader of the North Carolina House, and Rep. Saine is a Senior House Appropriations Committee co-chair.

Rep. Smith is a freshman legislator who served sixteen years as the Sheriff of Pender County.

“Several sheriffs in North Carolina aren’t communicating with their fellow law enforcement officers about the detention of illegal immigrants accused of crimes,” Rep. Hall said. “These sheriffs are putting politics ahead of public safety.”

“Their failure to cooperate with immigration officials only puts more innocent people and officers in harm’s way.”

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