President Trump said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) should “reverse his decision” after he vetoed a bill this week that would have required local law enforcement to ask about prisoners’ immigration status and cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
“North Carolina Governor Cooper Vetoed a Bill that would have required Sheriffs to cooperate with Ice,” Trump tweeted Saturday, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“This is a terrible decision for the great people of North Carolina,” Trump continued. “He should reverse his decision and get back to the basics of fighting crime!”
Trump, who is in France for the Group of Seven economic summit, weighed in after Cooper vetoed the legislation on Wednesday, arguing it was aimed at scoring political points and weakening local law enforcement by forcing them to do federal agents’ jobs.
“This legislation is simply about scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina. As the former top law enforcement officer of our state, I know that current law allows the state to jail and prosecute dangerous criminals regardless of immigration status,” Cooper said in a statement.
“Finally, to elevate their partisan political pandering, the legislature has made a sheriff’s violation of this new immigration duty as the only specifically named duty violation that can result in a sheriff’s removal from office,” he added.
Cooper, North Carolina’s former attorney general, is running for reelection next year in a Republican-leaning swing state where the GOP is eager to make further inroads in the 2020 cycle.
Immigration is a top priority for the Trump administration, with officials proposing a slew of hard-line policies meant to curb asylum claims and limit both legal and illegal border crossings.
The president has focused much of his ire on so-called sanctuary cities, municipalities that limit local law enforcement’s cooperation with agencies such as ICE.