CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolinas are front and center in the nation's immigration debate.
North Carolina lawmakers filed a bill Thursday that would force sheriffs across the state to work with federal immigration agents.
At least 100 people met at the Immigrant Community Committee Thursday night, recently formed by Mayor Vi Lyles to discuss what’s been happening in recent weeks.
They said they are living each day in fear.
Mothers and fathers spoke out, saying ICE agents are separating families in their community and harassing their children at school.
“I think everyone understands when a child is afraid that they will lose a parent," Mayor Lyles said. "That’s devastating."
Many said the raids are causing people to stay inside, and their local businesses are suffering because of it.
Mecklenburg County has seen an increase in ICE raids after the county’s newly elected sheriff Garry McFadden ended the 287g program. The program allowed deputies to check the immigration status of inmates and gave them authority to act as an immigration enforcement officer.
Thursday, North Carolina GOP lawmakers filed a bill that would force sheriffs to work with ICE, saying it’s for the safety of the public. If sheriffs refused, they would be fined thousands each day. The maximum fine under the bill would be $25,500 per day starting with the second offense. First offenses would see a minimum fine of $1,000 per day.
Sheriff McFadden had no comment on the bill.