Calling it a “terrible and reprehensible” idea, National Education Association (NEA) President Lily Eskelsen and N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) President Mark Jewell issued a statement Monday urging state lawmakers to vote against House Bill 370, which would require county sheriffs to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers on detainment requests.
Eskelsen and Jewell were also critical of President Donald Trump who they said has “weaponized” ICE.
“North Carolina lawmakers are playing politics with the lives of children by proposing an ill-designed, inhumane measure that would in essence make local law enforcement officials an extension of Donald Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” the two wrote.
The Senate is expected to vote on the bill later today. If approved, it will go to Gov. Roy Cooper.
Eskelsen and Jewell also said HB 370 has frightened immigrant communities across the country.
“It has wreaked havoc in our schools and immigrant communities across the country. In North Carolina, students are already living in fear due to recent ICE raids,” Eskelsen and Jewell wrote. “They are fearful of going to school. As anxious families turn to educators for solace, comfort and advice, we will continue to raise our voices to defend and protect our students from these inhumane policies which run contrary to the values that we hold dear as a nation.”
HB 370 has received major pushback from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.
Here is a memo released by the sheriff’s organization said last.
“House Bill 370 would compel duly elected sheriffs to participate in a voluntary federal law enforcement program,” it states. “The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association opposes such mandate. The people of each county, as reflected by the decision of their elected sheriff, should retain the ability to decide which lawful method they will utilize in complying with existing federal and state law. Just as the Association opposes any state law requirement to participate in the ICE detainer program, it would also oppose legislation prohibiting sheriffs from participating in the ICE detainer program.”