On Wednesday, the governor of North Carolina vetoed a bill that would have required law enforcement to cooperate with federal agencies on immigration.
After the bill was vetoed, Beaufort County Sheriff Ernie Coleman vowed to comply with federal immigration agency requests anyway.
More Divisive Legislation
The governor of North Carolina is a Democrat. As such, any legislation that even appears remotely friendly to the Trump administration will be deemed divisive.
Governor Cooper pushed that narrative as he vetoed the legislation. Cooper stated that “this legislation is simply about scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina. As the former top law enforcement officer of our state, I know that current law allows the state to jail and prosecute dangerous criminals regardless of immigration status.”
“This bill, in addition to being unconstitutional, weakens law enforcement in North Carolina by mandating sheriffs to do the job of federal agents, using local resources that could hurt their ability to protect their counties.”
“Finally, to elevate their partisan political pandering, the legislature has made a sheriff’s violation of this new immigration duty as the only specifically named duty violation that can result in a sheriff’s removal from office.”
Sheriffs Push Back
According to Sheriff Coleman, his department is split right down the middle politically with 50% Democrats and 50% Republicans.
He further stated that almost half the Democrats are already complying with federal requests and virtually all of the Republicans are doing the same.
While the governor is making it sound as though the federal government is asking local law enforcement to do their jobs for them, Coleman states what they are asking of local law enforcement is “nothing special.”
Sheriff Coleman stated, “This is a procedure that we notify like any other agency and then it’s up to them to contact us and say we will be there or not.”
Coleman further clarified that contrary to popular perception, it is only a request by federal immigration agencies, not an actual legal requirement. In the case of North Carolina’s sheriffs, they prefer to comply with the request rather than ignore it.
President Donald Trump has been very critical of the North Carolina governor, and this veto is surely only going to make that relationship even more contentious.