North Carolina Legislation On 287(g) Partnerships Should Go National

As sanctuary cities continue to proliferate, states must be proactive and innovative in their responses.  They must pass laws that actually promote public safety and keep dangerous criminal aliens off the streets. North Carolina is considering a bill that would do just that, and other states should take note.

House Bill (HB) 452, sponsored by Representative Cody Henson (R), would require the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) to participate in the federal 287(g) program, which delegates federal authority to state and local agencies to more actively cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

This isn’t unprecedented. Three states’ correction facilities already participate in 287(g): Arizona, Georgia, and (surprisingly enough) Massachusetts.  All three require their departments of corrections to cooperate with ICE on detainers and perform immigration enforcement functions inside those prisons.

But those agreements are in place by administrative action only—orders or directives from whatever secretary or commissioner is currently in charge of the department.  They aren’t permanent and can be terminated at any time.  That is why states need to pass laws requiring 287(g) for their state-level law enforcement and corrections agencies.

HB 452 is a roadmap for other states to follow.  It would require every law enforcement agency under the broad umbrella of DPS to perform immigration enforcement functions, including not just the state’s adult and juvenile prisons, but also Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI), the State Highway Patrol, and even the North Carolina National Guard. If the bill becomes law, it would dramatically improve how the state helps ICE locate and remove criminal aliens.

This is important for three reasons.

First, the agreement would give state personnel the authority they need to work more effectively with ICE. It would allow them to alert ICE to illegal aliens under arrest, give ICE access to state facilities, transfer inmates into ICE custody, and generate immigration detainers for illegal aliens in local jails or state prisons.

Second, it’s likely 287(g) could relieve the state of potential liability, because the agreement delegates federal authority to state personnel who are authorized and trained to perform immigration enforcement functions. It could also give participating state personnel access to legal representation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) if they are named as defendants in litigation. All of their legal costs might then be absorbed by DOJ if private counsel is hired.

Third, requiring 287(g) by state law rather than mere administrative action would make it significantly more difficult for any future governor or other official to terminate the agreement unilaterally unless the state legislature passes a new law. This assures the agreement will stay in place more or less permanently regardless of who’s in office.

That doesn’t mean it won’t receive criticism, of course. The open-borders lobby will predictably object to states participating in the 287(g) program, but they hardly have any real argument to make against it. Unlike many illegal aliens in the custody of county jails who are being held pre-trial, the majority of illegal aliens in a state prison have already been convicted and sentenced for a felony.  Nevertheless, the facts could be ignored and the lawsuits could come.

Instead of bending to political pressure, state lawmakers should ask themselves who do they want to protect more—dangerous criminals or law-abiding citizens? If it’s the latter, they should take action immediately and pass laws requiring 287(g).  HB 452 in North Carolina shows them the way.

About Author


Colton joined FAIR in 2018 as a legislative advisor for state and local policy. Prior to FAIR, Colton responded to constituent needs and legislative issues in the offices of U.S. Senator Thom Tillis and U.S. Representatives Virginia Foxx, Mark Meadows, and Richard Hudson. His congressional service covered a wide range of policy issues including agriculture, immigration, health care, welfare, and economic development. Before this, he was responsible for direct lobbying, grassroots mobilization, and strategic initiatives for several advocacy groups, including the North Carolina Association of Realtors, the Susan B. Anthony List, and Concerned Veterans for America. Colton holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Sociology from Western Carolina University.


  1. avatar

    If NC HB452 passes, Democrat Governor Cooper will likely veto. NCGOP no longer holds a veto-proof majority in either chamber of the NCGA.

    • avatar

      This is why I will do my best to see to it that Cooper is a one term governor. The man is no good. He has no values/morals beyond what his Marxist followers and policies dictate. From supporting Infanticide to declaring ICE a terrorist operation, to insisting that ILLEGALS have access to everything that citizens have worked and paid for. To him, ignoring our laws, jumping to the head of the line, ENTITLES these lawbreakers to the fruits of OUR labor. Cooper is a “sickness” that’s infested North Carolina and he should be eradicated ASAP.

  2. avatar

    There Should Be a Federal Tax Surcharge Imposed on the Sanctuary State on the Education Dollars Per Illegal Alien Audited [about $10K per Illegal alien student]

    And make this a federal IRS collection policy. The rest of us should not be paying school costs of illegal aliens. Period.

  3. avatar

    You can bet California won’t be participating. They are actively hostile to programs such as this. They would rather put people back on the streets like the five times deported felon they let go and who subsequently killed Kate Steinle in San Francisco.

    Earth Day is Monday. The person who pushed it’s establishment in Congress was the late liberal Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. In later years he said that the environment and immigration are connected issues and it’s not racism to say a growing population fueled by immigration is harmful to our environment, something the screaming banshees on the left refuse to acknowledge. In the 90s the Sierra Club, which had previously endorsed immigration limits for environmental reasons, began claiming such a linkage was “the greening of hate”. Another one of the contradictions of the left. Talk about climate change, but refuse to acknowledge a growing population, increasing pollution, would not help their goals. Nor does that growing population help when former farmland and woods are turned into more suburban sprawl.