On Monday, House Speaker Tim Moore hosted a roundtable discussion with Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf and Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Matt Albence at the North Carolina General Assembly.
The men used the press event to criticize Governor Roy Cooper for his veto of House Bill 370 and a group of sheriffs who have dropped out of the federal 287(g) program.
Following the roundtable, a coalition of immigrants’ rights organizations condemned the continued attempts by legislative leaders and ICE to advance anti-immigrant policies including HB 370.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Campaign for Southern Equality, El Centro Hispano, Comité Acción Popular (CAP), Comité Popular Somos Raleigh, Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas (CIMA), Comunidad Colectiva, Just Futures Law, North Carolina Justice Center, Poder NC Action, El Pueblo, Siembra NC, Southeast Asian Coalition, and other organizations denounced the event. Here’s more from their joint statement:
“These actions in North Carolina come on the heels of DHS policies that seek to separate children from families, deny asylum-seekers the right to apply for protections, and raise fees for immigrants who wish to become citizens,” said Angeline Echeverría, Executive Director for El Pueblo. “Today’s publicity stunt is only the latest in a campaign to demonize and violate the human rights of immigrants.”
“Legislators are making a blatant attempt to further criminalize immigrants and assist in maintaining Trump’s deportation force that’s separating families in our state,” Eliazar Posada, Community Engagement & Advocacy Department Director for El Centro Hispano.
“ICE should not be getting involved in local politics, and we urge state lawmakers to sustain the governor’s veto of House Bill 370,” said Alissa Ellis, the Regional Immigrants’ Rights Strategist for the ACLU of North Carolina. “North Carolinians chose to end collaboration with ICE, and today’s press conference demonstrates how far ICE is willing to go to usurp the will of voters.”
Study after study shows that local law enforcement cooperation with ICE does not make communities safer. Last year, voters in North Carolina’s two largest counties – Mecklenburg and Wake – elected sheriffs who campaigned on promises, now fulfilled, to end their county’s involvement in the federal 287(g) program, a partnership with federal immigration officers that has led to the deportation of thousands from North Carolina. Sheriffs in Buncombe, Forsyth, Guilford, and Durham counties have also announced that they will no longer hold people in jail on ICE detainer requests.