Hundreds of illegal aliens that were detained in jails in North Carolina have been released, thanks to a vetoed bill by Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

From October 2018 to September 2019, 489 illegals were released from detention, after ignoring ICE detainer requests, as first reported by WBTV. 

The legislation if signed into law, would have required law enforcement officers and sheriffs in North Carolina to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), thus honoring ICE detainer requests. Cooper’s veto followed the capture by ICE of Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, an illegal alien living in North Carolina who had been charged with first-degree rape and “indecent liberties” with a child.

Foreign nationals are arrested during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants, and at-large criminal aliens in Los Angeles, on Feb. 7, 2019. (AP)

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden at the time refused to cooperate with ICE, who had requested a detainer. Pacheco-Leonardo was released and captured two months later by ICE officials. Cooper is up for re-election in 2020. “Law enforcement officers have a sworn responsibility to protect their citizens—and that includes cooperating with federal authorities,” North Carolina state Sen. Chuck Edwards said, reported the Daily Caller

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper responds to a question during an interview at the Governor’s mansion in Raleigh, N.C. Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018 (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

“Governor Cooper, who prefers to pander to his far-left supporters, we will protect North Carolinians and plan to override his irresponsible veto,” he added. Recent detainer requests of a list of 22 illegals were ignored in Mecklenburg County, many of whom had been charged with sex offenses, kidnapping, rape, and arson.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) stated on Sept. 9, “North Carolina counties are releasing illegal immigrants charged with violent crimes like rape and murder without even notifying federal officials, jeopardizing public safety.” “This is why Congress needs to pass legislation I introduced to protect North Carolinians from dangerous criminals and to hold sanctuary counties responsible for refusing to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement,” reported WBTV.

Many left-leaning states have opposed President Trump’s crackdown on illegal aliens, and these states run by Democrats, including Washington and Colorado, signed sanctuary bills that allow them to override ICE requests.