RALEIGH – We’ve drawn a lot of attention to a disturbing pattern among select sheriffs in the Old North State of purposefully breaking away from cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Refusing to honor detention requests from the likes of ICE, and allowing illegal alien criminals to return to our communities unnecessarily risks the safety and security of the people of North Carolina. Simply cooperating with ICE to ensure such criminals can be held accountable to the immigration laws already on our books is as common sense as it gets.
Despite the sanctuary sheriffs’ politics, though, it turns out that they too can be held accountable. In addition to facing popular elections, county sheriffs that decline the duty to keep our communities safe by enforcing these laws can also face removal procedures for such malfeasance.
According to James Johnson of North Carolinians For Immigration Reform and Enforcement, there are laws on the books to do just that, and District Attorneys can be held to account as well. It only takes five voters to initiate the process.
“In North Carolina, two statutory procedures exist calling for trial before a Superior Court judge for the removal of a sheriff and district attorney.
For removal of a sheriff, any five qualified voters in the county can petition the county attorney or district attorney. Or, the county attorney or district attorney can start the process themselves, according to state law.
Once the petition is filed with the clerk of Superior Court, the clerk presents it to the judge for review. The judge can decide on reasonable grounds to suspend right then or decide not to suspend right then.
For removal of the district attorney, the process is initiated by filing with the clerk of Superior Court in the county where the district attorney lives. The clerk should bring the matter to the senior Superior Court judge in the county, according to General Statues.
The judge then has 30 days either to review or act on the charges or pass it on to another Superior Court judge to make the determination on whether it goes to trial.”
That state statutes outlining this procedure can be found here. The qualified reasons for initiating such a removal include the “willful or habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of his office.”
Does implementing policies to prevent federal immigration authorities from doing their jobs, and deporting criminal illegal aliens, meet the threshold? That’d be up to a judge to decide, but those in sanctuary sheriff counties that are interested in making sure habitual felons and known illegal aliens are handed over to ICE may have a case.