In vetoing a bill calling for better state and local cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is favoring the interests of illegal immigrantsover basic public safety, the state's Republicans argued Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Cooper, a Democrat, nixed a proposal that would have made it mandatory for state and local law enforcement to comply with detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Under the plan, sheriff’s offices and other law enforcement departments would have been required to hold detainees who are illegal immigrants until ICE personnel could come retrieve them. Those who did not honor the requests would have been subject to dismissal, The Wall Street Journal reported.
But those plans were set aside after Cooper opted not to support them.
“Law enforcement officers have a sworn responsibility to protect their citizens -- and that includes cooperating with federal authorities,” state Sen. Chuck Edwards, a Republican from Henderson County, told The News & Observer of Raleigh. “Governor Cooper, who prefers to pander to his far-left supporters, we will protect North Carolinians and plan to override his irresponsible veto.”
Edwards pointed to last week’s case in Mecklenburg County, where the city of Charlotte is located, in which ICE officers picked up a Honduran man who had been previously arrested on rape and child-sex-offense charges.
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office rejected an ICE detainer request two months ago and released the man from custody after he fulfilled court-ordered conditions, including paying bail, the Journal reported.
But Cooper defended his veto Wednesday.
Republican state Rep. Destin Hall accused Cooper of being a “sanctuary governor,” referring to "sanctuary city" policies adopted in at least 10 states meant to shield illegal immigrants from deportation and limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, the Journal reported.
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