We, the undersigned business leaders of our state, stand firm in our opposition to proposed House Bill 370, also referred to as “Require Sheriff Cooperation with ICE”.
The bill would require local law enforcement to participate in federal law enforcement through forced compliance with ICE detainer requests.
We urge you to oppose HB 370.
This bill will harm North Carolina’s communities, create a financial burden for local governments, subvert the will of voters, take away power from democratically elected sheriffs, and cost North Carolina important investment opportunities.
Last year, voters in North Carolina’s largest counties—Mecklenburg, Wake, and others—elected sheriffs who campaigned on promises to end their county’s cooperation with ICE in order to protect the rights and safety of all residents. We now stand with these sheriffs of our state’s largest counties who oppose this bill because they know cooperating with federal immigration officers will harm, not help, public safety. This bill would spread fear, erode the trust between local police and immigrant communities, and trigger an increase in unreported crimes.
According to the New American Economy Report on North Carolina, there are more than 800,000 immigrants living in North Carolina, who contribute $6.4 billion annually in local, state, and federal taxes. Immigrant workers compose 53.1% of painters, construction workers, and maintenance workers and 49.7% of agricultural workers in the state of North Carolina. Immigrant business owners provide 151,117 jobs to the people of North Carolina and their firms contribute $24.7 billion in sales to the North Carolina economy.
The state of North Carolina should be celebrating the contributions of the immigrant business community, not endorsing legislation to make them feel unwelcome.
This bill was introduced in the name of increasing safety, but there is no evidence to suggest this will make North Carolinians any safer. According to a Center for American Progress report, there are 35.5 fewer crimes committed per every 10,000 people in welcoming/sanctuary cities as opposed to non-welcoming cities. Aside from safety, the poverty rate is on average 2.3% lower and the unemployment rate is 1.1% lower in welcoming cities compared to non welcoming cities. In addition, this bill would erode the trust between local police and immigrant communities and trigger an increase in unreported crimes.
Taking a harsh anti-immigrant stance North Carolina is callous, and it would dissuade future industry from investing in our state.
North Carolina’s economy relies heavily on the work provided by immigrant communities. This bill sends a message to those communities as well as the rest of the United States, that immigrants are unwelcome in the Tarheel State. This bill sends the wrong message, puts financial strain on local municipalities, and does nothing to increase the safety of North Carolinians.
We urge you to oppose HB 370.