• 32°

Editorial: ICE bill based on faulty premise

A bill that would force N.C. sheriffs to more fully cooperate with federal immigration officials not only is potentially harmful to the sheriffs and the communities they serve, it’s based on a faulty premise.

House Bill 370 would compel local law enforcement agencies to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to detain people suspected of being in the country illegally. Some N.C. sheriffs, including those in Mecklenburg and Wake counties, have ignored or vowed to ignore these “detainer” requests from ICE, which can keep suspects in jail up to 48 hours beyond their release date.

Supporters of the bill point to a Mecklenburg County case last month in which a 37-year-old Honduran man, Luis Pineda-Ancheta, was involved in a nine-hour SWAT standoff shortly after being released from Mecklenburg County jail. Mecklenburg Sheriff Garry McFadden, who was elected last November, has vowed not to cooperate with ICE. After the incident, ICE spokesman Bryan Cox accused McFadden of creating a public safety risk. McFadden countered that it’s not the sheriff’s responsibility to determine if, when and how someone is released from jail.

McFadden is correct. That responsibility falls on magistrates and judges, who in this case authorized the release of Pineda-Ancheta on a $5,000 bond before the SWAT standoff, then again on a $65,000 bond, which was posted by a bail bondsman, the sheriff’s office told Observer reporter Jane Wester.

House Bill 370 supporters say such situations would be avoided by requiring sheriffs to honor detainer requests, but those requests are not backed by court orders, and they can place law enforcement in legal jeopardy for holding people without a warrant.

Several U.S. counties stopped honoring detainer requests after an Oregon woman successfully sued her county in 2014 for violating her rights by holding her for ICE.

The bill also could harm North Carolina’s cities and towns, particularly immigrant communities whose members already are hesitant to call the sheriff or police when they need help. Said Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller in a statement Friday: “If ICE comes into our community and creates division and mistrust when we need cooperation and mutual understanding between our immigrant and minority communities and local law enforcement, then we are all worse off for it.”

There’s a better path to keep potentially dangerous undocumented immigrants off the streets. Local magistrates, along with the Superior Court and District Court judges who hire and supervise them, can and should develop or revisit pretrial release guidelines that give magistrates and judges discretion over if and how someone is released from jail.

Those guidelines could involve notifying ICE officials in situations that might be particularly hazardous to communities and individuals. Instead, N.C. Republicans are intent on a bill that interferes in how sheriffs try to navigate the delicate landscape of federal immigration laws.

— The Charlotte Observer



School board talks competency-based learning, receives new offer on Faith Elementary


Chamber of Commerce warns buyers about used tractor company with Cleveland address


American Legion Post plans cocktail sip


Harold B. Jarrett Post to host blood drive


17 new COVID-19 cases, one new death reported


School meals expect a smooth transition for students


Fully vaccinated people can gather without masks, CDC says


Lane, ramp closures scheduled for I-85 in Salisbury


Blotter: March 8

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can homebound seniors be vaccinated?


Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast


‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler


Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury High, getting juvenile to help


With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes


City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions


High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later


With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee


Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education


Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021


A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month


Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair


Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month