Proposed NC bill would require sheriffs to hold suspects for at least 48 hours, cooperate with ICE if immigration status unknown

House Bill 10 — the “Require Sheriffs to Cooperate with ICE Act” — has recently advanced to the North Carolina House Rules Committee and could soon see a vote by the state House.

The goal of HB 10 is to establish a procedure that requires sheriffs to hold suspects with an unknown immigration status for at least 48 hours while federal immigration officials are contacted. 

“[HB 10] is talking about additional detention associated with an arrest, or some kind of other criminal detention that is now resolved,” said Kate Evans, director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the Duke Law School. “These individuals would otherwise go back to their families and communities. But this law will keep them for two more days at the request of ICE officers without any kind of independent review as to whether or not there are actually valid civil charges that would justify the detention.” 

One of the primary sponsors of this bill is Rep. Destin Hall, a Republican. His support for this bill rises from his concern that several sheriffs have refused to comply with ICE. 

“When a sheriff refuses to cooperate with them, it allows folks to walk out of their jails, ICE still has to do their job. But now they have to go out into the community, or in the field, and try to enforce this law in a much more dangerous environment than they would otherwise be in," Hall told ABC11.

This is not the first time a bill of this nature has been introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly. 

“These efforts have been underway since 2019 and have been unsuccessful thus far because of the actions of elected officials and the preferences of voters,” Evans said. 

In 2022, Gov. Cooper vetoed Senate Bill 101 which included many of the same ideas and compliance requirements, along with House Bill 370 in 2019. This bill is the first of its nature to be voted on by the new makeup of the NC House, which is one member short of a Republican supermajority. In order to uphold Cooper’s veto, all 49 of the House Democrats would have to be on board.

Evans explained that passing of this bill could have significant impacts not only on the immigrant communities of North Carolina, but on all residents. 

“That work comes at a significant cost to taxpayers in terms of what it just costs to house people. And it comes at a significant cost to the community trust and the actual ability for law enforcement agencies to investigate and hear about crimes,” Evans said.

Further, Evans says that in counties that engage in “local immigration policing by the people who are supposed to be protecting communities,” crime reporting, including violent crimes and especially domestic violence, “drops dramatically.” 

The Duke Immigration Rights Clinic currently partners with advocacy groups to distribute and provide resources to reduce the potential harmful impacts of legislation, like HB-10, on migrant communities.

“We really are here to support the organizations that are representing impacted communities that are made up of members who have their families torn apart,” Evans said. 

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Audrey Patterson | Local and National News Editor

Audrey Patterson is a Trinity sophomore and local and national news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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