A group of immigrants and activists came together Saturday morning to rally outside of the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association against House Bill 370 and House Bill 135. They are urging Governor Roy Cooper to take a stand against two bills, which according to Members of the immigrant community makes them feel as if they are “captive in a community that is hunting us and we don’t want that”
North Carolina is home to a small but growing immigrant community. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of North Carolina’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit us all. Enforcing our immigration laws is the federal government’s responsibility and local governments have no legal obligation to assist. Local authorities should be the ones to make the decision on how to ensure their public safety. This bill is just another example of North Carolina Republican legislatures disregarding basic principles of democracy in order to grab power.
- This bill could lead to a chilling effect on immigrant communities, as local residents lose trust in the very law enforcement agencies that are responsible for maintaining public safety.
- Fear and distrust of local law enforcement officers prevent immigrant residents from contacting or speaking to local officials. When victims and witnesses refuse to speak to law enforcement, it makes it more difficult for police to both identify issues and seek assistance in addressing them.
- Implementing a 287(g) agreement can be extremely costly for both state and local law enforcement agencies.
- New sheriffs in North Carolina’s largest counties won elections in 2018 after making high-profile promises not to work with federal immigration agents. Local authorities, who know their communities best and are accountable to those communities, should be the ones to make the decision on how to ensure their public safety.
Requiring local law enforcement agencies to pose as immigration agents will not increase public safety in our communities. Furthermore, these agreements isolate and alienate immigrant communities who are an integral part of North Carolina’s diverse and thriving communities and can actually help keep our communities safe.