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North Carolina Legislature Succumbs To The Trump Effect, Passes Anti-Immigrant Bill

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As Donald Trump continues to lead in North Carolina, his anti-immigrant rhetoric has inspired state lawmakers to go after the state’s immigrant population.

Bill HB 318, which cleared the North Carolina General Assembly late last night, serves only one purpose — to make life a lot harder for undocumented immigrants in the state.

Reports from North Carolina media are pointing to a variety of anti-immigrant provisions that are included in the bill, such as restrictions on the types of identification that will be recognized by law enforcement and the state of North Carolina, and language that would deny local governments the ability to adopt “sanctuary city” policies.

The Charlotte Observer reports:

Local governments would be banned from preventing their law enforcement officers from asking about a suspect’s immigration status. They also couldn’t stop law enforcement from sharing immigration information with federal authorities.

The immigration provision is part of a larger “Protect North Carolina Workers Act” that also would require state and local government agencies to hire only contractors that follow E-Verify laws to check workers’ immigration status. It now goes back to the House for a concurrence vote.

The bill also establishes that ID cards issued by municipalities and counties or consular documents aren’t a valid form of identification.

HB 318 is a clear departure from the legislature’s attempts to pass a bill that would have provided driver’s licenses to undocumented North Carolinians. Perhaps unsurprisingly, state Republicans have fallen for Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant talking points and are now lending their full support for this measure.

Not only do policies like HB 318 perpetuate the distrusts between local law enforcement and the immigrant community, but it dismisses the contributions that immigrants currently make and could make within local communities:

“Cities pursuing a “smart” approach — both traditional immigrant hubs like New York City, and also places like Dayton, Ohio, and Nashville, Tennessee — have experienced transformational boosts in their economy and civic life, in addition to cutting down on crime.

Across the nation, many jurisdictions are catching on — offering undocumented immigrants routes to drivers’ licenses, professional licenses, affordable college degrees, and other opportunities that will enrich the city as a whole.”

As HB 318 heads to Governor Pat McCroy’s desk for final approval, local advocates are mobilizing and calling on the governor to veto the measure.

—- UDPATE: September 30, 2015:

Opponents of HB318 are calling on North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to issue a veto on the anti-immigrant legislation. A video from a rally that took place yesterday outside the North Carolina Capitol depicts a young boy pleading Governor McCrory to veto HB318:

As of right now, there is no clear timeline on when Governor McCrory will sign or veto HB318. According to the North Carolina Constitution, the Governor has 30 days to act on a piece of legislations – otherwise the bill will become law.

Advocates are asking for calls to be made to Governor McCrory at 1-866-462-5671, urging him to oppose HB318 and veto it. A letter opposing HB318 has been hand delivered to Governor McCrory on behalf of over 70 pro-immigrant organizations:

We will update this post as more information becomes available.