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Political Notebook: Sen. Tillis, Reps. Budd, Hudson introduce Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act

U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Reps. Dan Bishop, R-9, and Ted Budd, R-13, announced Friday that they will introduce the Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act this week. 

The bill will clarify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s detainer authority; establish the authority of states and localities to maintain custody of an immigrant in cases in which a detainer has been issued; and incentivize cooperation between law enforcement agencies and DHS through the reimbursement of certain detention, technology and litigation costs.

Tillis said he hopes to receive bipartisan support for the bill.

“I think most people realize the common sense of a policy that says if you have someone in jail who has committed a serious crime — not simply the crime of being illegally present, not simply having a removal order — but a serious crime, then please let us work with (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) so we can safely transfer them to an ICE facility and keep our community safer,” Tillis said.

The bill also would:

• Give explicit authority to the arresting federal, state, tribal or local law enforcement agency to maintain custody of an illegal immigrant for a period not to exceed 48 hours to permit assumption of custody by the DHS, upon the issuance of a detainer.

• Allow the federal government to enter into agreements with the arresting agency to indemnify it against wrongful detention claims by third parties that result from a detainer issued without reason to believe the individual is a removable illegal immigrant. Indemnification will not extend to claims relating to negligence or willful misconduct.

• Make jurisdictions ineligible for reimbursement of detention costs if they are certified by the DHS secretary as being incompliant with ICE.

• Provide that jurisdictions are deemed incompliant receive no priority when being considered for funding through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program and when benefitting from the 1033 and 1122 programs.

Bill supporters say several states and localities, including some in North Carolina, have passed ordinances or developed policies significantly limiting cooperation with detainers, which Tillis called reckless sanctuary policies. 

In North Carolina, sheriffs in a handful of counties have recently implemented sanctuary policies by refusing to honor detainer requests by ICE.

The vast majority of sheriffs in North Carolina are cooperating with ICE, but unfortunately some of our most populous are not,” Tillis said.

Budd said there is a real cost to society when states and municipalities don’t work with ICE.

“This bill takes away all the excuses from sanctuary cities,” Budd tweeted. “It’s time for them to cooperate with ICE and keep our communities safe.”

N.C. Senate passes tax relief bill

A bill that would provide tax relief for low-income families is now in the N.C. House awaiting approval.

If passed, Senate Bill 557 would increase the standard deduction by 7.5%, from $20,000 or $21,500 for married couples filing jointly effective Jan. 1.

The bill was passed Thursday in the Senate on a 47-3 vote.

It was referred to House finance committee.

“I am proud to say that Republicans have steadily returned taxpayer money to North Carolinians through historic, economy-booting tax cuts such as S.B. 557,” said state Sen. Carl Ford of Rowan County. “Prior to 2011, Democrats imposed the highest taxes in North Carolina and the country.”

The Taxpayer Refund Act is stalled in the House. That bill would give every state taxpayer a refund. The refund would be capped at $125 for individuals and $250 for a couple.

N.C. voters split on impeachment of President Trump, poll shows

The latest statewide Civitas Poll finds North Carolinians are split on the impeachment inquiry by the U.S. House of Representatives. Of the 500 likely voters who were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the U.S. House of Representatives starting an impeachment inquiry against President Trump?” 46% said they approve and 48% said they disapprove.

The survey was conducted Oct. 15-17.

A RealClearPolitics nationwide poll found that 50.9% support the impeachment inquiry and 43.3% oppose it.

“North Carolina’s opposition to the impeachment inquiry is just a bit above the national average. However, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone,” said Civitas Institute President Donald Bryson. “Everyone needs to keep in mind how evenly split this question is and understand that it is not a decided question in the Tar Heel State. We should expect it to be a central campaign focus in early 2020.”

Respondents also were asked about possible gubernatorial match-ups between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and three Republicans, former Gov. Pat McCrory, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and N.C. Rep. Holly Grange. Cooper leads all three, but his support has fallen since the question was last asked in August.

Cooper’s job approval rating has slowly declined over the past seven months. In the latest poll, 51% approve of the governor’s job performance. In a March Civitas Poll, 58% of likely voters approved of Cooper.

“If I am in the Cooper campaign, my immediate concern is the downtick in Gov. Cooper’s numbers,” Bryson said. “The change is not because Republicans are performing better; it is because voters are more unsure of the governor.”

IOPL names Brad Young executive director

The N.C. Institute of Political Leadership has named Brad Young as the fifth executive director in the organization’s history.

In addition to being a spring 2015 IOPL Fellow, Young has served on the organization’s board of directors since 2016. Young’s experience includes roles in nonprofit groups and state government, most recently as director of external affairs at the Office of the State Auditor.

A native of Jacksonville, Young is a graduate of North Carolina State University and holds a master of business administration degree from Campbell University. Young lives in Raleigh with his wife and two daughters.

“We conducted an extensive search process to find the next leader of this organization, and Brad was our consensus choice,” said John Hood, who chairs the IOPL board of directors. “During his work in state government and politics, Brad has demonstrated creativity, dedication and an impressive ability to work across partisan lines. As a graduate of IOPL, he  has a compelling vision of how to update and broaden its programs while maintaining its traditions and commitment to improving the practice of democracy in our state.”

The institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate future political and community leaders in modern campaign strategy, ethical decision making, and governance. 

“I am honored to serve as executive director of IOPL,” said Young. “It is as important as ever to identify and empower the public servants necessary to meet the challenges of both today and tomorrow. Disagreement is inevitable, but demonization does not have to be. Our fellows work to disagree better.”

The institute offers a nonpartisan fellows program that helps prepare individuals from diverse backgrounds to become public servants — elected, appointed, or through other community involvement. Now in its 33rd year, it has more than 1,100 alumni representing 82 N.C. counties.

Applications are now being accepted for spring 2020.

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