North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would have required sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, the Wall Street Journal reports. The measure would have forced law enforcement officers to comply with requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold illegal immigrants subject to deportation until agents can pick them up. Supporters said the measure was needed to protect the public. Opponents argued it would spread fear among immigrants and discourage them from cooperating with law enforcement. “This legislation is simply about scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina,” said Cooper, a Democrat. “This bill, in addition to being unconstitutional, weakens law enforcement in North Carolina by mandating sheriffs to do the job of federal agents.”
Republicans accused Cooper of siding with illegal immigrants over the state’s citizens. “Today we found out North Carolina has a sanctuary governor,” said state Rep. Destin Hall, primary sponsor of the measure. Sanctuary policies refer to those that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Ten states have laws prohibiting sanctuary jurisdictions, while 10 others and the District of Columbia have measures supporting them, says the National Conference of State Legislatures. In June, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed one of the strictest bans against sanctuary cities. The measure requires local law-enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and honor requests to hold illegal immigrants. In North Carolina, ICE last week arrested a Honduran migrant who had been arrested on rape and child-sex-offense charges. ICE said the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor an ICE request two months earlier to hold the migrant, who it said was in the U.S. illegally, and released him.