News from State and Local Operations (NL2303
Legislators in North Carolina are pushing back against a handful of local sheriffs who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities or even honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests to detain criminal aliens who are in their custody. The Require Sheriff Cooperation with ICE Act (House Bill 10) would go the extra step and require sheriffs to determine if people booked into their local jails are legal U.S. residents and, if not, proactively inform ICE. Rep. Destin Hall, one of the sponsors of HB 10, argues that the legislation is a needed response to a “small number of ‘woke’ sheriffs” whose refusal to cooperate is endangering public safety in North Carolina. “Cooperating with ICE about illegal aliens charged with serious crimes in our state should be common-sense. Their decision to cut off communication with immigration officials only puts more innocent people and officers in harm’s way.” Although Democratic Governor Roy Cooper vetoed similar legislation last year, sponsors of HB 10 have reason to be optimistic. This year, Republicans hold a supermajority in the State Senate, and are just one seat shy of a supermajority in the State House, meaning that an override of a veto is a strong possibility.
The North Dakota Legislature began its session on January 3, and by January 16 the State House managed to pass a bill that bans sanctuary jurisdictions statewide. Spurred by the Biden Border Crisis, which is affecting every state in the nation, House Bill 1155 was approved by a lopsided 80-11 vote in the lower chamber. HB 1155 has not been immediately addressed in the North Dakota Senate, but it is expected that it will be addressed before the legislative session ends on April 28. It is highly likely that Gov. Doug Burgum (R) would sign the bill if it reaches his desk. Gov. Burgum is a member of the American Governors Border Strike Force and has been openly critical of the Biden administration’s handling of border and immigration enforcement.
The Florida Legislature did not officially convene until March 7, but owing the severity of the border crisis, legislators called a special session to expedite the state’s response to the crisis. House Bill 5B and Senate Bill 6B (which were promptly passed in their respective chambers) formalize and significantly expand the state’s efforts to transport illegal aliens throughout the country to sanctuary cities and states. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the legislation into law on February 15. The legislation creates the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program, which will be administered by Florida’s Emergency Management Division. The legislation includes funding of $10 million through June 30, 2025. As has been the case with the state’s high profile efforts to bus illegal migrants out-of-state, only migrants who consent to relocation are affected.
Indiana is not a state one would expect to be entertaining ideas about granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens amid a national illegal immigration crisis. Nevertheless, legislation to do just that is making its way through the legislature in a state where Republicans control both chambers and the governor’s office. Senate Bill 248, sponsored by Republican Senator Blake Doriot would issue a “driving privilege card” to illegal aliens who show proof they have paid taxes for at least one year, submit fingerprints for a criminal background check, and have auto insurance. Senator Doriot claims the driving privileges cards are needed because these individuals “are participating in our economy, in our society. They are employed,” conveniently forgetting that, under federal law, it is illegal for them to be employed. SB 248 cleared its first legislative hurdle on February 7, passing the Homeland Security and Transportation Committee by a 5-4 vote. A companion House Bill, 1050, has been introduced by Republican Rep. Jim Pressell, which differs slightly from the Senate bill in that it inexplicably singles out the illegal aliens the Biden administration has illegally paroled into the United States for driving privileges. Adding to the irony, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has been among the vanguard of state attorneys general suing the Biden administration over its immigration policies. Should the legislation be approved, it is unclear whether Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb would sign them.