Senator Jim Perry: Small town values - protecting NC families

Senator Jim Perry: Small town values - protecting NC families

I think of my three daughters every time I see a headline like the one I saw last week regarding the illegal immigrant who was arrested in Charlotte on the charge of first degree rape. This previously deported, illegal immigrant was in one of our jails, but he was freed instead of communicating with a Federal Agency. In my opinion, he was freed because of political motivations. 

If you had told me ten years ago that I would live to see a sheriff release criminals to score political points, I would have never believed it to be possible. This terrible incident, like many others, could have been avoided. This criminal should not have been walking freely on North Carolina soil. He was set free, however, and the life of a child, and her family, was forever changed.

Over the past 18 months in North Carolina, more than 330 illegal aliens have been charged with child rapes or child sexual assaults, according to independent research. As we learned more about this serious issue, we felt compelled to act to protect the children of North Carolina.

I was a primary bill sponsor of Senate Bill 637, along with Senators Edwards and Sanderson. Our bill required compliance with ICE detainers. After meetings with our NC House colleagues we decided to work together to advance one version of this legislation for consideration among members of the General Assembly, and we chose House Bill 370.

Additionally, we worked with the the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association to incorporate their thoughts until we developed legislation they believed in, and supported. The bill impacts illegal immigrants who are in jail because they have been charged with a separate crime. The proposed law would direct Sheriffs to check with ICE about the status of the illegal immigrant.

If the suspect is wanted, they hold them for 48 hours for ICE to pick them up. Why would we not want to know if someone is wanted for an additional crime? What could possibly be our motivation to not want that knowledge? A small numbers of Sheriffs, and a large number of political organizations have expressed disagreement on this subject. I do, however, want to be very clear: The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association SUPPORTS House Bill 370.

I am a proud supporter of our brothers and sisters charged with upholding the law. It is important to share that we don’t have many issues like this in eastern NC. Regardless of their political affiliations, the majority of our Sheriffs in the East refuse to play political games with the safety of our citizens. Our children and loved ones, however, do travel to other areas where their safety may be impacted.

I support immigration, and I love to hear the stories of those who persevered to come to our country legally. I admire those who seek more for their families, and are willing to work hard/sacrifice for their loved ones. I represent the citizens of Wayne and Lenoir County. This common sense legislation represents our small town values.

Senator Jim Perry
NC Senate District 7
Wayne and Lenoir

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