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Facts & Misstatements About North Carolina’s Proposed ICE Cooperation Law


There have been a number of misleading statements made about North Carolina House Bill 370, North Carolina’s proposed “ICE cooperation law,” which would require state sheriffs to detain someone who is wanted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Below, we discuss some of these statements and how they affect criminal charges and immigration here in North Carolina:

It Does Not Force Sheriffs To Comply With ICE

One claim is that the legislation forces sheriffs to comply with ICE. However, this is not the case: What typically happens is that ICE will send a letter to the sheriff once they learn of someone of interest being taken into their custody. This is what is known as a detainer request, and asks the sheriff whether ICE can interview the individual.

However, it is important to note that these requests do not have the force of law that a warrant does, and the law does not mandate compliance. Therefore, any sheriffs who ignored this request cannot be charged. In fact, any sheriff who releases inmates that have served their sentence and posted bond are simply doing their jobs.

Sheriffs Cannot Stop & Demand To See Someone’s “Papers”

It is also important to note that the bill does not act in a similar fashion to the 2010 Arizona law that allowed police to stop someone and demand to see their “papers” if they suspected that they were an illegal immigrant. What it does require is a sheriff to take an inmate to a judicial official if they receive an ICE detainer request. That official then decides whether the sheriff should keep custody; depending upon the status of that individual and ICE’s response.

House Bill 370 Has To Do With Detainer Requests, Not The 287g Program

It is also important to note that the bill does not in any way address the 287g program, which allows some sheriff’s deputies to act as ICE agents. House bill 370 has to do with ICE’s detainer requests, not the 287g program. This means that any sheriff can comply with the detainer request – they do not have to be a part of the 287g program in order to do so. In addition, House Bill 370 does not require deputies to interview inmates about their immigration status. Instead, it makes judicial officials responsible when it comes to figuring out whether an ICE detainer should be honored.

Finally, the bill applies to anyone detained by law-enforcement and not just those who are guilty of a crime, and it was not drafted in response to public outcry against sheriffs who refused to operate with ICE. In fact, several sheriffs have been vocal opponents of House Bill 370, and they represent more than 2.5 million people, or 25 percent of the state.

Contact Our North Carolina Immigration & Criminal Defense Attorneys with Questions

If you have any questions about what is and is not a crime when it comes to immigration issues and charges, contact our experienced North Carolina criminal attorneys at the Hauter Law Firm, PC today.



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