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Why I oppose bills to force NC sheriffs to honor ICE detainers
If initiative is voluntary, lawmakers should butt out
Published Thursday, February 25, 2021 3:00 pm
by Garry McFadden

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden.

As sheriff of Mecklenburg County, I took the initiative to travel to Raleigh Tuesday morning to oppose SB101. I was very displeased to learn the bill was removed from the docket and another portion of the bill was amended.

Like its predecessor HB370, SB101 seeks to force every duly elected sheriff in North Carolina to honor heretofore voluntary ICE detainers, even if most of the Sheriff’s community – and the sheriff himself with the community in mind – is wholly opposed to such cooperation with ICE. As I said when HB370 was before the legislature and I opposed it: my decades of experience in law enforcement consistently demonstrate a commitment to making my community safer, without dividing any persons or groups of persons within that community.

I was elected with a clear mandate to stop honoring voluntary ICE detainers, and my reasons for endorsing and embracing that mandate are unequivocally on the record. I firmly believe that Mecklenburg County is a safer community when local law enforcement does not do ICE’s job, and all members of our community can trust and engage with local law enforcement without fear of repercussions so severe as deportation.

Again, as I said when HB370 was proposed, I recognize that other Sheriffs may have differing views and adopt differing policies about immigration and cooperating with ICE. I respect those sheriffs’ positions just as I know they respect mine. But just as HB370 tried to before, SB101 would usurp the power of every sheriff and local community to set its own policies.

Whereas it remains my firm belief that the people of each county, as reflected by the decisions of the sheriff whom they elected, should retain the ability to decide, within the clear confines of the law, to what extent local law enforcement might cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Garry McFadden is Mecklenburg County sheriff.


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