Bill opposes sanctuary cities, prohibits identification cards

NC Governor Pat McCrory recently signed into legislation a controversial new bill – House Bill 318 or the “Protect North Carolina Workers Act” — which supporters say will help local law enforcement agencies pursue undocumented immigrants but opponents claim will harm immigrants and businesses which rely on immigrant labor. Though Gov. McCrory did not speak about the bill to reporters following the signing of the legislation, the NC GOP issued a statement in support saying that “sanctuary city policies are unacceptable and counterproductive to public safety.”

The North Carolina bill specifically prohibits cities from issuing municipal identification cards, an idea promoted by the Immigrant Integration Task Force in Charlotte. The subject of municipal ID’s was a topic of discussion at the recent mayoral debate between candidates Jennifer Roberts and Edwin Peacock. Roberts supports the issuance of such ID’s and Peacock does not.

Nationwide, some cities have enacted policies designed to encourage immigrants to come forward to help law enforcement officials, without fear of immigration consequences. One law enforcement organization, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, supports these policies and explains that so-called “sanctuary city” policies were created to increase public safety and create trust among immigrant communities. MCCA president told the LA Times, “We fail if the public fears their police and will not come forward when we need them.”

At a federal level, a Senate Bill — the “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act” — was recently defeated when it failed to receive the 60 votes needed in a 54-45 vote. That bill would have denied federal funding to cities which enact legislation allowing local law enforcement agencies to release undocumented immigrants after their sentences are complete despite a “detainer request” issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “requesting” that local law enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants after they should be released from custody. Federal courts have ruled that such “requests” are not mandatory, and that local law enforcement is not required to keep undocumented immigrants in custody beyond their legal release date.

Dozier Miller’s Immigration Counsel:

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