For the third time, Republicans will try to enact a law that would require sheriffs across North Carolina to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and honor detainer requests of people accused of certain crimes.
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has twice vetoed similar measures.
But Republicans might have the votes this year to override the governor, thanks to a supermajority in the Senate and new House rules that could allow Republicans to call a snap vote and circumvent a veto.
The primary sponsors of this year’s bill are Rep. Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, Rep. Brenden Jones, R-Columbus, Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, and Rep. Carson Smith, R-Pender. Under the proposal, jailers would query U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if they can’t figure out whether a person charged with certain crimes who is incarcerated at their jail is a citizen or legal resident. If ICE issues a detainer for that person, jail staff must bring them before a state judicial official, who could order the person be held in jail for up to 48 hours to comply with the federal detainer.
The bill would also require jail staff to produce annual reports to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety. Those reports would focus on seven data points, providing an in-depth at some of the ramifications of the new law, which would go into effect this December. The figures jail staff would need to send to the legislature would include:
- The number of times the facility queried ICE regarding an incarcerated person’s immigration status
- The number of times ICE responded to such a query
- The number of times ICE issued a detainer request of an incarcerated person
- The number of times a person was incarcerated for a full 48 hours, thus fulfilling the jail’s obligation to honor the request
- The number of times an incarcerated person was held in jail and then released after ICE rescinded a detainer
- The number of times an incarcerated person was held in jail who otherwise would have been eligible for release from custody
- The number of times ICE took people into custody who had been the subject of detainer requests
The bill was introduced on Wednesday and passed first reading in the House on Thursday.
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