Turns out 9/11 is no reason to take a holiday from political dirty tricks, at least among North Carolina Republican legislators.
While Democrats were attending 9/11 commemoration events on Wednesday, Republican members of the state House called a surprise emergency session — during which they voted to override the Democratic governor’s veto of the state’s proposed budget, a move Democrats had long opposed.
North Carolina House Democrats were under the impression that there wouldn’t be any votes until 1 p.m., according to an email sent by the House minority leader and obtained by ABC11.
But Republicans snuck in a vote before then.
Many Democratic representatives told the outlet that they were lied to by the House Republicans, who voted to override the bill while just 64 of 120 House members present. The resulting vote was 55-9 in favor of overriding the bill.
“This is a tragedy. This is a travesty of the process and you know it,” Deb Butler, a Democratic state representative from New Hanover County, reportedly yelled before the vote began.
The few Democrats who managed to make it into the chamber in time for the vote were livid, ABC 11 reported, as was Gov. Roy Cooper, who blasted the Republicans in a press conference.
“For a decade, this Republican legislature elected by unconstitutional means has used tricks and bullying to starve our public schools and deny healthcare to half-a-million working North Carolinians,” Cooper said. “They used lies, bribes and illegal districts because their policies damage our state and can’t pass on their own merit. Today, on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, while the state was honoring first responders, Republicans called a deceptive surprise override of my budget veto.”
But House Republicans maintain they did nothing wrong.
“When we stop being a beacon of freedom, hope and democracy, then the terrorists win.”
“As a former firefighter and an American, I am appalled that anyone in our country would stop going about their normal business on this day,” Jason Saine, a Republican member of the state house who called the motion to vote, told ABC 11. “When we stop being a beacon of freedom, hope and democracy, then the terrorists win.”
The state senate still needs to vote on overriding the budget veto, but it’s likely that it will pass, since only one Democrat needs to vote in favor of it.
Cover: Woman pauses at the National September 11 Memorial during a morning commemoration ceremony for the victims of the terrorist attacks Eighteen years after the day on September 11, 2019 in New York City. Throughout the country services are being held to remember the 2,977 people who were killed in New York, the Pentagon and in a field in rural Pennsylvania. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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North Carolina Republicans spent months pushing a controversial bill that would force sheriffs to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement — but the state’s Democratic governor vetoed it Wednesday night.
The bill, which passed the state Senate in June and the state House Tuesday, would have required local sheriffs to cooperate with ICE or risk being removed from office. The bill was comprehensive: It required local law enforcement to check the immigration status of every single person they charged with a crime, interview detainees about their immigration status at ICE’s request, and hold people suspected of being undocumented until ICE could pick them up.
The bill — which was introduced by Republicans, who dominate both chambers of the Legislature — passed largely along party lines. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper accused the sponsors of “scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina” in a statement issued Wednesday night.
“This bill, in addition to being unconstitutional, weakens law enforcement in North Carolina by mandating sheriffs to do the job of federal agents, using local resources that could hurt their ability to protect their counties,” Cooper said.
Critics claimed deputizing local law enforcement on ICE’s behalf would make communities less safe by eroding people’s trust in law enforcement. Immigrants in particular, they said, would be afraid to call the police or report crimes if sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement officers suddenly had the authority to ask people about their immigration status.
More than 100 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the YWCA, signed a letter urging Cooper to veto the bill.
Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden, who’s serving his first term, was also among those against the bill. He’s part of a cohort of newly elected black sheriffs who specifically ran on building community trust by ending their counties’ legal partnerships with ICE, known as 287(g) agreements.
McFadden ended Mecklenburg’s 287(g) partnership, which had been in place since 2006, last December. Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker also ended his county’s partnership, in March. Three other counties in the state have stopped holding people specifically so ICE could pick them up for suspected immigration violations since 2018.
The bill, HB 370, was conservative lawmakers’ response to McFadden and others’ crusade against these partnerships with ICE. Rep. Destin Hall, one of the bill’s top sponsors, once told supporters that he worked with ICE to craft the bill.
“These sanctuary sheriffs are simply putting partisan politics ahead of public safety,” Hall said of McFadden, Baker, and other sheriffs on the House floor in April.
Cover image: FILE – In this Nov. 16, 2018, file photo, an immigrant who entered the United States illegally is checked before boarding a deportation flight. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)