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Some N.C sheriffs: Immigration reform could spur crime

By Franco Ordoñez
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON More than a dozen North Carolina sheriffs have banded together with other sheriffs from Arizona to Pennsylvania in opposition to a bipartisan U.S. Senate proposal to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.

Sheriffs Eddie Cathy of Union County, David Carpenter of Lincoln and Terry Johnson of Alamance, among others, criticize what they consider a lack of border security.

They say the proposal “tolerates both past and future criminal activities,” according to a letter sent Thursday to Sens. Richard Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, and Kay Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Chipp Bailey and Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison are not on the list of sheriffs who signed the letter.

The letter, obtained by McClatchy’s Washington Bureau, listed more than a dozen concerns with the proposed legislation.

“On the subjects of public safety, border security, and interior enforcement, this legislation fails,” they write. “It is a dramatic step in the wrong direction.”

The U.S. Senate began debate Thursday to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

The bipartisan proposal, written by the so-called Gang of Eight, provides a path to citizenship for many of the 11 million people here illegally, but not until several border security measures are implemented.

The proposal has received wide support from immigrant rights groups, religious leaders, the business and labor communities, as well as many law enforcement groups. But opposition remains strong.

A union for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents also signed the letter.

“We therefore conclude that this legislation fails to meet the needs of the law enforcement community and would, in fact, be a significant barrier to the creation of a safe and lawful system of immigration,” the letter says.

The groups charge that while business groups, activists and other interests were closely involved in drafting the Senate bill, law enforcement personnel were excluded.

Ordoñez: 202-383-0010
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