RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Republicans have given final legislative approval to a bill requiring all sheriffs to comply with requests by federal immigration agents to jail inmates they believe are in the country unlawfully.
The House voted 62-53 on Tuesday to accept Senate changes to the measure, which responds to a handful of dissenting sheriffs refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the detainers it issues.
The detainers aren't arrest warrants, so sheriffs can ignore them. GOP legislators point out recent cases in Mecklenburg County, where violent suspects who were subjects of detainers were released.
"I am disappointed that our state lawmakers have voted to approve House Bill 370," Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden said in a released statement. "HB 370 will negatively impact public safety in Mecklenburg County, where I was elected with a clear mandate to stop honoring voluntary ICE detainers and to end the 287(g) program"
The measure now goes to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has sounded willing to veto the bill.
"I also agree with Governor Cooper," McFadden said. "HB370 is unconstitutional on its face-as it suggests that a state magistrate judge can rule on immigration matters like the legitimacy of an ICE detainer. "
The Associated Press contributed to this report