NC House of Representatives passes bill requiring sheriffs to cooperate with ICE

·2 min read
Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS

North Carolina sheriffs would be required to inform and cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after charging someone with certain high-level offenses if the person’s legal status cannot be determined, according to legislation that passed the North Carolina House Tuesday.

House Bill 10, a new version of similar bills passed by GOP lawmakers in recent years that were subsequently vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, was approved by lawmakers with 71 votes to 44. At least three Democrats — Reps. Tricia Cotham, Cecil Brockman and Michael Wray — joined Republicans in supporting the bill.

It now heads to the state Senate, which is expected to again send the bill to Cooper, who overturned its previous iteration last summer.

After winning several seats in the 2022 election, however, Republicans are now just one vote shy of being able to circumvent Cooper. As the House passed HB 10 Tuesday, the Senate planned to hold its first override vote of the session right after on a package of gun rights bills that Cooper vetoed Friday.

A similar effort to bypass Cooper on the ICE bill could follow if it reaches his desk and he decides to block it again.

Rep. Destin Hall, a Lenoir Republican and one of the bill’s primary sponsors, said the vast majority of the state’s 100 sheriffs already voluntarily do what HB 10 would require them to do. The main reason the bill is needed, he said, is the small number of sheriffs in primarily urban counties such as Wake and Mecklenburg, where sheriffs have vowed not to cooperate with ICE.

“There are a small number of sheriffs in our state who have completely stopped working with ICE, and in many cases, stopped communicating with ICE in any meaningful way,” Hall said before the vote.