Mecklenburg Sheriff Speaks Out Against HB 370

CHARLOTTE, NC -An emotional outburst in Raleigh as a bill that would require sheriffs in the state to work with ice passes another hurdle.

“House Bill 370 has a clear agenda against the newly elected African American sheriffs,” said Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden.

He spoke at a news conference in Raleigh outside the Senate chambers. Anger and frustration from seven of the state’s sheriffs, including McFadden. The group of African American Sheriffs represent the largest counties in North Carolina and have decided not to voluntarily work with immigration officials. House Bill 370 would require them to cooperate with federal ICE agents.

The measure passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

“We don’t want to fight,” said McFadden, “We just want to serve our community. and we want to be respected as sheriffs.”

The bill would also double the amount of time that a person believed to be in the country illegally could be held for ICE. And would punish sheriffs who don’t comply.

“They’re trying to intimidate sheriffs to comply with these laws with the threat of removal of office,” said Bobby Kimbrough, the Forsyth County Sheriff, “That’s repugnant. That’s offensive. It’s something we should all be deeply concerned about.”

Supporters say the bill only applies to illegal immigrants who have committed a crime.

“It’s just common sense that our law enforcement officials should cooperate with each other to keep the public safe,” said Rep Destin Hall of Caldwell County, who authored the bill.

The sheriffs association previously opposed the bill, but it reversed it’s stance after a new version of the bill “protected the due process” of the person in custody and “provided maximum security for the community.”

“Yes, we are newly elected sheriffs. Yes, we are progressive. And yes we stand together against House Bill 370,” said McFadden.

The bill will be heard in the Senate Rules Committee before going to the full Senate for a vote.

McFadden says the bill will likely face legal challenges if passed.