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Opinion: Protecting the homeland starts at home


Carolina Journal

When asked what the biggest issue is influencing their voting decisions this election year, more voters across North Carolina chose “immigration” than any other option, even over the ever-relevant economy, according to a recent Carolina Journal poll.

It’s an understandable area for concern; illegal immigration through our nation’s southern border has skyrocketed in the last several years. The border is in crisis mode, as millions of illegal crossers have inundated border states like Texas, Arizona, and California. News coverage of immigrant caravans marching toward American communities coincides with media reports of human trafficking, deadly drug imports, and even a captured suspect from the terror watch list.

But the Tar Heel State is thousands of miles from the southern border — why are the voters of North Carolina so concerned? It maybe that, while we certainly do not have to contend with the same extraordinary burden as does the Lone Star State, voters here understand that “protecting the homeland” has everything to do with safer communities here at home.

And though thousands of miles from the border we may be, there are still things we can do to help with the enforcement of laws designed to secure our nation — and neighborhoods — from threats. Being that nearly half a million illegal immigrants are residing in North Carolina, that starts with ensuring local law enforcement commits to cooperating with the federal agencies to detain and deport illegal aliens arrested for committing crimes in our communities.

The good news is that the overwhelming majority of them already do. It’s just plain common sense for sheriffs from Rockingham County, to Johnston County, to Carteret County, and beyond. The bad news is that a handful of sheriffs — many representing some of the largest population centers in the state — seem to take partisan pride in being non-cooperative. The political posturing comes at the direct expense of community safety.

Headline after headline reveals the wanton recklessness of releasing illegal aliens arrested for violent crimes back into our communities, when a legitimate option exists to allow for their lawful removal by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The controversy of “sanctuary sheriffs” has been extant for years. Some of them, like Sheriff Garry McFadden of Mecklenburg County, campaigned for their office by promising their political base they would not cooperate with ICE on detainer requests. McFadden celebrated the official policy of non-cooperation with cake.

State legislation to “require sheriffs cooperate with ICE” is not new either, but it would go a long way toward prioritizing public safety, over politics, across some of our biggest metros in the state.

House Bill 10, Require Sheriffs Cooperate with ICE, is currently making its way through the General Assembly. The measure has gained traction with the Republican majority over the short session after originally being introduced last year. It seems likely to head to the governor’s desk.

However, similar legislation has been approved by the General Assembly multiple times in recent years, only to be vetoed by Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper again and again. This time, Republicans are bolstered by a veto-proof majority, as well as the knowledge that North Carolinians support it.

And despite the insistence by tilted media and partisan politicians that enforcing compliance with ICE detainers is controversial, a quick glance at who is concerned about illegal immigration and calling for stronger enforcement measures paints a different picture.

According to recent survey conducted by Axios and The Harris Poll, half of Americans — including 42% of Democrats and 45% of Latinos — say they’d support mass deportations of undocumented immigrants.

To be sure, mass deportations is an aggressive policy tool. It’s certainly a far cry from state legislation making sheriffs honor ICE detainer requests for select illegal alien criminals. Yet that is the sentiment of a majority of Americans bearing witness to the ills of open-border policies washing over communities from California to Carolina.

It’s high time that we recognize what citizens’ priorities truly are, and listen. It starts with pushing back against the manufactured “controversy” fomented by special interest groups and confidently doing our part to secure the homeland and our own neighborhoods by helping remove criminals who shouldn’t be here in the first place.

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