Today, the Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, signed an onerous and vindictive anti-immigrant bill into law – at a public signing ceremony, no less:
At a public signing ceremony, he put his name to HB318, a highly controversial bill taking aim at immigration and food assistance.
The bill prevents local municipalities from adopting “sanctuary city” status and restricts the kind of identification immigrants can use; specifically, the bill prohibits the Matricula Consular – a photo ID issued by the Mexican government to nationals outside the country.
Immigrants rely on the Matricula Consular for everything from doctor’s visits to school documentation and advocates worry, without it, many immigrants will be frozen out.
The bill also targets people who are out of work and seeking food assistance.
McCrory signed the legislation in Greensboro – a city where the City Council passed a resolution opposing the bill last week by an 8-1 margin.
Reaction From the ACLU of North Carolina:
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory today signed into law HB 318, which prohibits local governments from adopting so-called “sanctuary” ordinances limiting enforcement of federal immigration law, prohibits some government officials from accepting various forms of ID cards, and expands the use of E-verify.
“By making it harder for people to identify themselves to government officials, discouraging undocumented people from reporting crime, and banning local governments from passing measures aimed at improving public safety, this law makes all North Carolinians less safe,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “Immigrants play important roles in our communities and economy. Laws like this encourage discrimination, send the message that North Carolina is unwelcoming, and make it harder for law enforcement officers to do their job keeping all members of the community safe.”
The North Carolina Justice Center is deeply disappointed by Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision to sign HB 318 today. We have consistently called for the Governor to veto this harmful legislation. The law undermines how local governments address their own needs when it comes to immigrant communities and makes North Carolina appear to be a hostile place for newcomers of all identities.
We are also deeply disturbed by how this bill limits jobless workers’ ability to receive food assistance. This could affect up to 100,000 North Carolinians and their broader communities, most of which are rural. The bill would permanently prevent North Carolina from waiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s benefit time limit. This time limit applies regardless of whether these individuals are actually able to find employment or training opportunities. The end of current waivers will come at a time when 77 counties qualify for the waivers due to a significant lack of jobs.
Since the bill was passed in September 2015 by the NC General Assembly, we have been concerned about it hurting people who need reliable identification simply to access important services and failing to protect our neighbors from hunger.
McCrory has established himself as another leading anti-immigrant figure in the GOP today – and, in doing so, is damaging his state’s reputation and harming the lives of North Carolinians.