Buncombe Democratic Commissioners in Lockstep With Gov., Opposing ICE Detainer Bill

Jul 16, 2019

Buncombe County’s Democratic commissioners plan to speak out Tues. against a measure that would force sheriffs to comply with federal immigration agents.

Board Chair Brownie Newman, Vice Chair Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Commissioners Amanda Edwards and Al Whitesides penned a letter to the Governor supporting his condemnation of House Bill 370. The measure would require sheriffs departments to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and honor detainers to hold individuals in local detention facilities.

The commissioners say the bill is “unconstitutional” and would erode trust in local law enforcement. Commissioner Beach Ferrara says it’s about defending all residents of the county. 

“To be very proactive and vocal and vigilant about standing up for the rights and the dignity of our immigrant community when there are such attacks happening at the state and federal level,” Beach-Ferrara said. 

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has indicated that if HB 370 makes it to his desk, he plans to veto it. The three Republican commissioners on the County Board are not included in the letters of support to the governor. Commisioners Mike Fryar, Joe Belcher and Robert Pressley did not return BPR's requests for comment.