North Carolina’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have required local and state police to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Under the legislation, which passed the state House along party lines on Tuesday, local and state police would be required to detain illegal immigrants in their custody until Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents could retrieve them.
“This legislation is simply about scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina,” Cooper said in a Wednesday statement. “This bill, in addition to being unconstitutional, weakens law enforcement in North Carolina by mandating sheriffs to do the job of federal agents.”
Republican state senator Chuck Edwards accused Cooper of prioritizing the interests of illegal immigrants over the safety of North Carolinians in response to the veto.
“Law-enforcement officers have a sworn responsibility to protect their citizens — and that includes cooperating with federal authorities,” Edwards told the Raleigh News & Observer. “Unlike Governor Cooper, who prefers to pander to his far-left supporters, we will protect North Carolinians and plan to override his irresponsible veto.”
Edwards went on to cite a recent case in which the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, whose jurisdiction includes the city of Charlotte, ignored an ICE detainer request for a Honduran man who was arrested on rape and child-sex-abuse charges.
Republicans enjoy a majority in both the state Senate and state House but they would require the cooperation of a few Democrats to override Cooper’s veto.